Presidential Election 2017 Writ issued: Nomination Day on Sept 13, Polling on Sept 23

(From left) Presidential hopefuls Salleh Marican, Halimah Yacob and Farid Khan. PHOTOS: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singaporeans will vote for their eighth President on Sept 23, if more than one person qualifies to run for the position.

The winner will be the second Malay president in Singapore's history, and the first to be chosen in a presidential election reserved for candidates of a specific community.

Singaporeans will know if they will get to cast their vote or if the election will be a walkover, on Nomination Day, which will be on Sept 13.

The Presidential Elections Committee must screen all presidential hopefuls and inform them of their decision by the day before, on Sept 12.

If there is only one eligible candidate, he or she will be declared the President on Nomination Day.

The Elections Department (ELD) gave these details in a statement on Monday (Aug 28), announcing that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had issued the writ of election.

Polling Day will be declared a public holiday.

The nomination of candidates will take place at the People's Association headquarters at 9 King George's Avenue.

The Returning Officer will be Mr Ng Wai Choong, the chief executive of the Energy Market Authority.

Presidential hopefuls

So far, three people have thrown their hat in the ring: marine services firm chairman Farid Khan, 61, former Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob, 63, and property company chief executive Salleh Marican, 67.

Mr Farid and Mr Salleh submitted their forms last week.

In a statement on Monday afternoon, Mr Salleh said he is confident of getting the green light to contest the upcoming election.

He reiterated that he will be independent of political parties and other organisations.

He also pledged to guard the nation's reserves "with prudence", look into sections of society that need to be helped, and if elected, donate all his presidential salary to smaller, underfunded charities.

"I look forward to be eligible to contest in the election. A contest will be good for Singapore," he said.

Candidates must apply for a certificate of eligibility, as well as a community certificate confirming they belong to the Malay community.

Applications for these two certificates must reach the ELD no later than 5pm next Monday (Sept 4).

Additionally, they must get a political donation certificate from the ELD.

Applications for this certificate must reach the ELD no later than 5pm on Sept 9.

Nomination Papers are available at the ELD at Prinsep Link, and can also be downloaded at the ELD's website. They must be signed by the prospective candidate and his or her proposer, seconder, and at least four assentors who must be registered voters.

Eligible candidates must also pay an election deposit of $43,500 by noon on Nomination Day.

This year, there will be a new form for candidates to voluntarily undertake that they will conduct their election campaign in a manner that is dignified, decorous and consistent with the President's position as the Head of State and the symbol of national unity.

The form can be obtained from the ELD during office hours or from its website.

Signed undertakings will be put up on the notice board, together with Nomination Papers and certificates, during nomination proceedings on Nomination Day.

Outgoing President Tony Tan Keng Yam, whose term ends on Thursday, is not seeking re-election.

Mr J.Y. Pillay, chairman of the Council of Presidential Advisers, will be Acting President until the new president is sworn in.

In a Facebook post shortly after he issued the writ, PM Lee reiterated why there was a need for a reserved election.

The mechanism, which was passed by Parliament in constitutional amendments last November, kicks in if Singapore has not had a President from a particular community for five consecutive terms.

"We are a multiracial country, and every citizen should know that someone of his community can become President, and does become President from time to time, and thus represent all Singaporeans," said PM Lee.

"I hope Singaporeans will support the candidate who will best represent their interests and aspirations, and our nation. Not just at home, but internationally too," he added.

Following the issuing of the writ of election, Farid Khan said on Facebook that he looks forward to an open and fair competition ahead.

Salleh Marican wrote on Facebook saying he was confident of getting the green light to take part in the election.

Halimah Yacob posted a video of Singapore Business Federation chairman Teo Siong Seng, whom she said has agreed to be her Proposer.

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