After Singapore shakeup, here are possible successors to Lee

10-Apr-2021 Intellasia | Bloomberg | 5:02 AM Print This Post

With the successor to Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong now out of the picture, the race to become the country’s next leader is suddenly wide open.

Lee on Thursday signalled the process could take several years, and the party aimed to have a successor in place by the next election due in 2025. The city-state has only had three prime ministers since independence, with one party ruling since 1965. Lee, 69, and his late father, Lee Kuan Yew, have run the country for all but nearly 14 years.

Here’s a shortlist of front-runners to succeed Lee:

Chan Chun Sing, 51

The minister for trade and industry is one of the key members of the next generation of leaders in the People’s Action Party and was seen as one of the front-runners to succeed Lee prior to the general election last year. Known for his folksy style, Chan voiced strong views during the pandemic on everything from masks to panic food runs. Last year, he reiterated the country’s commitment to globalisation and attracting talent.

Chan Chun Sing, Singapore’s minister of trade and industry, speaks during the Singapore-China (Chongqing) Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum in Singapore, on Wednesday, September 11, 2019. The forum explores collaboration opportunities in technology and innovation, connectivity and professional services.

After serving with the Singapore Armed Forces from 1987 to 2011, Chan was elected as a member of parliament in the 2011 general election. He was then appointed minister for social and family development and second minister for defense before taking up his current post in 2018.

Earlier this year, he said he was hopeful the US under President Joe Biden would want to stay engaged with the world and especially with Asia, and that trade-reliant Singapore would look to work constructively with its most important security partner.

Ong Ye Kung, 51

The minister for transport has played a critical role in Singapore’s efforts to reopen its borders and strike reciprocal travel arrangements amid the pandemic.

Ong Ye Kung, Singapore’s minister for education, reacts during a Bloomberg Television interview in Singapore, on Tuesday, November 29, 2016. Ong Ye Kung discussed the Singapore education system and the defense ties between the US and Singapore.

Prior to his appointment, Ong held various positions including chief executive officer of the Singapore Workforce Development Agency, principal private secretary to prime minister Lee, and deputy chief negotiator for the US-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. While he lost in the 2011 general election, he has since become a member of the ruling party’s central executive committee, with local media citing colleagues touting him as “a natural politician” with an ability to rally people.

Lawrence Wong, 48

Wong has seen his profile rise as co-chair of the main government task force for fighting Covid-19. Known for a no-nonsense speaking manner, he played a critical role in bringing the pandemic in Singapore under control with measures such as mandatory mask wearing while also helping to build ample medical capacity to deal with new infections.

Before his dual appointment as minister of education and second minister of finance last year, he oversaw a closely watched property sector as minister for national development. Wong began his career as a civil servant, later serving as the chief executive of the Energy Market Authority and the principal private secretary to Lee.


Category: Singapore

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