Sunday, 24 September 2023

Elections Department announces applications for Certificate of Eligibility to begin on 13 June

SINGAPORE – The Singapore Elections Department (ELD) has announced that the application for the Certificate of Eligibility (COE) and submission of community declarations for the upcoming Presidential Election 2023 will open on 13 June 2023.

The department highlighted that applications will close on the 5th day after the Writ of Election is issued and late applications will not be accepted.

This year’s Presidential Election will be an open race, allowing candidates from any racial community to stand.

To qualify, prospective candidates must obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC), affirming their integrity, good character, reputation, and the fulfillment of public sector or private sector service requirements.

In addition, they must submit a community declaration to the Community Committee to determine the next reserved election. If a particular community has not held the presidential office for the past five terms, the subsequent election will be reserved for them.

The PEC is led by the Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Mr. Lee Tzu Yang, while the Community Committee is chaired by Mr. Edward D’Silva.

For the Presidential Election, prospective candidates are urged to utilize the Elections Department’s digital services to prepare the application form for the Certificate of Eligibility.

Upon completion, the form should be printed and submitted to the department with all supporting documents no later than the 5th day after the Writ of Election is issued.

Candidates can also apply to the Community Committee for a Community Certificate by submitting a community declaration for the Chinese, Malay, or the Indian/Other Minority communities. Those who do not identify with any of these communities may also declare as such.

The current President, Halimah Yacob, announced in May that she would not be seeking re-election. Following her decision, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam expressed his intention to leave politics and his position in the People’s Action Party (PAP) to participate in the election.

While no one else has came out to state definitively that they will be contesting for the presidency, rumours abound that Harvey Norman Ossia’s founder, George Goh, might throw his hat into the ring, given his recent preparation work on social media.

Mr Lee Hsien Yang, the younger brother of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, has also earlier announced his intention to run for the presidency, stating in an interview with Bloomberg News.

However, he was unsure of the chances of returning to Singapore in the foreseeable future due to the ongoing investigation. Over the years, Lee Hsien Yang and his sister have been accusing accused their brother of using “organs of the state” against them and their family

With a 2016 amendment to the constitution increasing the qualification criteria for private sector candidates, only a handful of Singaporeans qualify.

Minister-in-charge of the Public Service, Mr Chan Chun Sing, stated in May that currently around 50 public service positions and over 1,200 companies with an average shareholders’ equity of S$500 million or more, could satisfy the service requirement for the Presidential Election.

The Election Department will subsequently announce the date, time, and location for nominations.

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