SINGAPORE CITY: Indian-origin Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a former member of Singapore’s ruling party, on Saturday won the country’s presidential race with 70.4% of the vote.
The city-state’s president is the head of state while the its prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, is the head of government.
Shanmugaratnam was locked in a three-way contest involving two Chinese-origin candidates, according to the sample count result released by the Elections Department.
The 66-year-old will assume charge as Singapore’s third Indian-origin president.
Earlier, speaking at Taman Jurong Food Centre where his supporters had gathered, Tharman said he is “truly humbled by the strong endorsement” Singaporeans have given him.
“I’m humbled by this vote – it is not just a vote for me, it is a vote for Singapore’s future, a future of optimism and solidarity. That’s what it really is. My campaign was one of optimism and solidarity, and I believe that’s what Singaporeans want,” he said.
Tharman had formally launched his presidential campaign in July with a pledge to evolve the country’s culture to keep it a “shining spot” in the world.
He joined politics in 2001 and has served in the public sector and ministerial positions with the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) for over two decades.
Incumbent President Madam Halimah Yacob’s six-year term will end on September 13. She is the country’s eighth and first female president.