Saturday February 16, 2019
Home Politics Halimah Yacob...

Halimah Yacob is Singapore’s First Woman President, Elected Without a Vote

"I am a President for everyone," said the newly elected Halimah Yacob, whose post is more representative than executive

0
//
Halimah Yacob
Halimah Yacob who was the only candidate to get eligibility certificate, is now set to be Singapore's next President Wikimedia

Singapore, September 13, 2017 : Halimah Yacob became on Wednesday the first woman President of Singapore, being the only candidate who met the requirements for the presidential elections.

However, Yacob’s selection was overshadowed by criticism that it was undemocratic to give her the top post without a vote. Halimah Yacob, a 63-year-old Muslim of Malay descent, will take her oath of office on Thursday in a ceremony due to be held in Istana, the presidential residence and office, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s office said.

Yacob was the only presidential hopeful among three potential candidates to qualify for the post. This year’s election was reserved for Malay candidates. Two other contenders, businessmen Mohamed Salleh Marican and Farid Khan, did not meet one of the minimum requirements to run, Channel NewsAsia reported.

Yacob, accompanied by her husband and greeted by about 750 supporters, spoke outside the People’s Association building and called for unity in a speech delivered in English and Malay.

“We need every Singaporean to stand together shoulder to shoulder … we have not reached the peak yet and the best is yet to come,” Yacob said, urging citizens to “focus on the similarities that we have and not on the differences.”

In 2016, Singapore’s Parliament approved a constitutional reform which stipulated that the presidential elections would be reserved for one of the ethnicities of the multicultural city-state if no candidate from this group has occupied the post in the previous 30 years.

“I am a President for everyone,” said Halimah Yacob, whose post is more representative than executive.

Yacob was born in 1954 to a Muslim Indian-origin father and a Malay mother.

The mother of five started her political career with the People’s Action Party (PAP), which has been governing the country since 1959, and entered the Parliament in 2001.

She secured her first portfolio in 2011, as State Minister of Community Development, Youth and Sports, and became the Speaker of Parliament in 2013.

In August 2017, Halimah Yacob stepped down as Speaker and resigned from the PAP to be able to run for President. (IANS)

Next Story

Congo’s President Challenges Election Result In High Court

The Democratic Republic of Congo has never experienced a peaceful transfer of power since winning independence from Belgium in 1960.

0
Congo, Election
Defeated Congo opposition candidate Martin Fayulu greets supporters as he arrives at a rally in Kinshasha, Congo, Jan. 11, 2019. VOA

Congolese presidential candidate Martin Fayulu plans to demand a recount of election results that showed him losing to fellow opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi.

Speaking Friday by phone to Eddy Isango of VOA’s French to Africa service, Fayulu said he will go to the Constitutional Court on Saturday and ask judges to order the recount.

“We ask for a manual recount, polling station by polling station, before the CENI, before the African Union, before the United Nations, and in front of everyone else … so that everyone can see what the Congolese people achieved on December 30, 2018,” Fayulu said.

Congo, election
Opposition candidate Martin Fayulu speaks to the press at his headquarters in Kinshasa, Congo, Jan. 10, 2019. VOA

The commission said Thursday that Tshisekedi, the son of a longtime opposition leader, won the presidential election by more than 600,000 votes over Fayulu.

However, Fayulu’s campaign says it has tallies showing he won the election with 61 percent of the vote.

The Catholic Church and foreign diplomats have also questioned the outcome of the poll. The church said Thursday that the official figures do not correspond to vote tallies collected by its 40,000 election observers around the country.

UN Security Council discusses vote

VOA United Nations correspondent Margaret Besheer reports the U.N. Security Council held a meeting in New York Friday to discuss the Congolese election.

Congo, election
Felix Tshisekedi, leader of the Congolese main opposition party, the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) who was announced as the winner of the presidential elections gestures to his supporters in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Jan. 10, 2019. VOA

The head of the election commission, Corneille Nangaa, told the council via satellite that Congo has two options: accept the results or nullify the election. He said if the vote is nullified, the country would not have a new president until new elections are organized.

Current President Joseph Kabila has already remained in office two years past the end of his mandate. He was set to step down this month after 18 years in power, once a new president was elected.

In the election, Kabila backed his former interior minister, Emmanuel Shadary, who finished a distant third. Supporters of Fayulu — a businessman backed by a coalition of opposition parties — have accused Kabila of making a deal with the electoral commission to deny their candidate the presidency, and in order to retain influence in the next administration.

Congo, elections
Corneille Nangaa, the president of the independent electoral commission (CENI), leaves a meeting with opposition candidates and African Union observers in Kinshasa, Congo, Jan. 2, 2019. VOA

The U.S. State Department said Thursday that it is important that President Kabila sticks to his decision to abide by term limits and transfer power to a successor. The statement from deputy spokesman Robert Palladino said the U.S. is awaiting “clarification of questions which have been raised regarding the electoral count.”

Also Read: Ebola-Recovered Woman Gives Birth To Healthy Child In Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo has never experienced a peaceful transfer of power since winning independence from Belgium in 1960. (VOA)