Singapore PM says political succession to coincide with vote

By Harry Suhartono & Philip J. Heijmans

Singapore’s planned political succession that would see Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong become the country’s next leader will coincide with general elections due by 2025, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said Sunday.

“Comrades, the next GE is going to coincide with Singapore’s political succession,” he said during a gathering of the ruling People’s Action Party, referring to the general election. Party members are voting for a new central executive committee at the event.

“We will be tested on all fronts domestically as well as abroad,” Lee said. “I have no doubt our neighbors will be watching closely whether Singaporeans continue to support the government. Whether Singapore will continue to function and to succeed the way it has been doing.”

While it remains unclear whether the ruling party will seek a fresh mandate through early elections or if Lee, 70, plans to lead them, he said the PAP would keep on working at succession and leadership renewal of the so-called fourth generation of party cadres. Lee previously said he would hand the reins to Wong, 49, once he is ready.

The party vote comes at a time as the PAP seeks to strengthen its hand after its worst showing in the 2020 election. Prime minister-in-waiting Wong warned his ruling party on Sunday it shouldn’t take winning the next election for granted, despite having held power since the city state’s independence in 1965.

Wong said the opposition will be stronger at the next election, and reminded delegates that their challengers had won more seats and votes in recent contests.

“While we put up good candidates and fight to win every seat, we have to be prepared that we will not win all of them and nor can we assume that we’ll form the next government,” Wong said at the party’s congress. “Whether it happens before or in 2025, we already know it’ll be a tough battle.”

Wong said the government wants to tilt its “policies further in favor of the less fortunate and vulnerable,” as many in the wealthy city state battle rising prices. The low inflation and interest rates of the past few decades have come to an end, said Wong, who is also the country’s finance minister.

He also warned the free flow of goods and investments that Singapore has grown accustomed to in recent decades is set to shift, if not reverse, with the emergence of a new “cold war” between the US and China, which “will be more dangerous than the first cold war.”


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