SINGAPORE - President Tony Tan announced on Tuesday (Nov 8) that he will not be standing in the next presidential election in 2017.
"As the next presidential election will be a reserved one for Malay candidates, I will not be standing in the next presidential election. I look forward to seeing a Malay president after 46 years," Dr Tan wrote in a Facebook post.
"My priority remains unchanged. I will continue to focus on performing my current role as president as well as I can for the remainder of my term, strengthening community ties and forging better international relations for Singapore. Together, we can build a better Singapore for our future."
Dr Tan's announcement came after Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said in Parliament earlier in the day that the next presidential election will be reserved for candidates from the Malay community, with the proposed racial provision kicking in.
Having reserved elections is one of the proposed changes to the elected presidency being debated in Parliament this week. It is meant to ensure that minority presidents are elected from time to time.
Under the constitutional change proposed, an election will be reserved for a particular racial group if no one from that group has been president for five continuous terms. Candidates running in these reserved elections will have to meet the same criteria as those running in open elections.
PM Lee said: "That means if a qualified Malay candidate steps up to run, Singapore will have a Malay president again... This would be our first after more than 46 years, since our first president Encik Yusof Ishak."