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Source : PAP.org.sg.

Will the next PAP leader be elected by its party?

by Lakshmanan s/o Palaniappan

With respect to the next People's Action Party leader, will the party hold a party election? The PAP should be amenable to amending its prevailing constitution should this be required. I believe this is a matter not only of interest but importance to the laypeople of Singapore.

When the incumbent PAP Secretary General, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong decides to step aside to make way for the next party leader, the party alone ought to decide. Though it is within the party’s right to select its next party leader, one would urge the party to consider an election within the party to determine the leader as it assures genuine broad-based party support and hence durability of leadership for the party.

Singapore as it evolves as a democracy should not shy away from a Select to an Elect the party leadership model across all parties if it is not already in place. Potential candidates ought to preach from the pulpit to all party members what they have to offer as leaders, principally their vision for party and country. A genuine party leader will strike a chord and resonate with his party supporters and therefore be able to carry them. An elected party leader will also inspire party members as opposed to an anointed one, who will be the lesser for a mere following.

In the Roman Catholic Church tradition, the pope nominates the cardinals, who then elect succeeding popes, invariably from among their own. This may serve as a minimalist template for all parties in deciding their next party leader but ideally, the entire party ought to caste its vote in deciding any future party leadership.

Most importantly, it does not matter who the next leader of the PAP is. What matters is how the party leader attains to it for that is the only thing that should and ought to matter.

As stated in Wikipedia, "Historically, the position of Secretary-General was not considered for the post of Prime Minister. Instead, the Central Executive Committee held an election to choose the Prime Minister. There was a contest between PAP Secretary-General Lee Kuan Yew and PAP treasurer Ong Eng Guan. Lee Kuan Yew won, and thus became the first Prime Minister of Singapore.

Since that election, there is a tradition that Singapore's Prime Minister is the Secretary-General of the winning party with the majority of the seats."