A Muslim woman from the Malay minority
Halimah Yacob, became Wednesday, September 13, the first female president of Singapore, an event overshadowed by critics denouncing her accession without election to this mostly honorary post in the archipelago of Southeast Asia.
Halimah Yacob, former President of Parliament, where she was the first woman to hold the post, automatically acceded to the supreme post after two potential rivals were eliminated as they did not meet all the required criteria.
One of the criteria is that candidates from the private sector must have three years’ work at the head of a company with a capital of at least 500 million Singapore dollars (310 million euros), which was not the case for the two potential rivals.
Mrs. Yacob, 63 years old was elected to head the parliament in 2013. She resigned in August to launch her presidential race.
The head of the executive is Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, a member of the Popular Action Party (PAP) in power since 1959.
It is also the first time that the presidency has been reserved for the Muslim Malaicommunity following a constitutional reform in 2016 to ensure that representatives of different ethnic communities can gain access to the head of state. The Chinese community is the majority ethnic group.
On the other hand, it is not the first time in Singapore, a rich country where freedom of expression is closely controlled, that presidential candidates are disqualified, rendering a ballot useless. “Although there has been no election, my commitment to serve you remains the same,” said HalimahYacob.
Halimah Yacob, mother of five children, will be invested Thursday for a six-year term.