Workers' Party (WP) leader Low Thia Khiang said last night that he will not contest the post of secretary-general at the next party election, due next year - in an announcement that surprised many.
He said he is stepping down after completing the two tasks he set for himself as leader - electoral progress and party renewal.
The party's younger leaders have formed a cohesive team, ready to take the steering wheel, he added, in a speech at the WP's 60th anniversary celebration.
By the time he steps down next year, Mr Low, 61, would have served 17 years in the top post, which he took over from WP veteran J.B. Jeyaretnam in 2001.
Mr Low will be remembered as the first opposition leader to win a group representation constituency. He led the WP team that won Aljunied GRC in the 2011 election and retained it in the 2015 election.
Political observer Eugene Tan of the Singapore Management University said: "Mr Low's timing is impeccable. It's an announcement that will be much talked about within the party rank and file and by the electorate.
"It is a clarion call for younger leaders to take the party forward and will require the cadres to step up and raise the WP's profile and game between now and the next general election."