Confirmed: Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam Running for President


Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who’s so popular that his GRC often had one of the most PAP votes, has confirmed that he’s running to be Singapore’s next President.

Yes, basically, let’s just call him President Tharman instead.

Here’s the breaking news that probably made Jocelyn Chia breathed a sigh of relief. Who’s Jocelyn Chia again?

Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam Running for President

In a move that that is both expected and yet unexpected, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam, who’s also the Coordinating Minister for Social Policies, sent a letter to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today, saying that he has decided to “put myself forward as a candidate in the forthcoming presidential election.”

He plans to resign from the PAP and step down from his Government posts, as the Singapore president must be non-partisan—i.e. not in any party.

Previously, in 2017, President Halimah has also submitted her resignation letter from her position as the Speaker of the House and an MP to PM Lee. She did so much later, though, on 7 August 2017, about a month before the election (which “took place” on 13 September 2017).

SM Tharman is also stepping down from other responsibilities he is currently holding, like the Chairman of the  Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), deputy chairman of Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, chairman of the Economic Development Board’s International Advisory Council and various others.


He will step down on 7 July 2023, so that he can still commit to his many responsibilities. Basically, handover lah.

Of course, he’ll also be stepping down as the Member of Parliament in Jurong GRC, the GRC he has been serving since he started his political journey since 2001.

I can almost hear people crying from Jurong even when my office is in the east.

He said in his letter that it was a “difficult decision”, and he had consulted his family on this.


PM Lee has since responded in a letter (maybe old people still prefer to use letters lah), accepting his resignation.

President Tharman Shanmugaratnam: Expected or Unexpected?

SM Tharman seldom posted on Facebook, and when President Halimah announced that she wasn’t running again, SM Tharman had posted a dedication to her.

The highly popular politician, whose GRC won with 74.62% of the votes in the last election, has often been seen as the next Prime Minister before the 4G leadership was set up. He, however, ruled out that possibility in 2016, saying that he was good at “supporting the PM—not being the PM.”

Well, he didn’t say he wasn’t going to be President, though.

He said in his letter that he has been receiving requests in recent months for him to run for President should President Halimah chose not to stand again.

He added, “I believe that I can now best serve Singapore not in politics, but in a different role that has to be above politics

“If I am fortunate enough to be elected as president, I will represent the unity of Singaporeans, of all races and religions, social backgrounds, and political leanings, at a time when views in the population are becoming more diverse.”

Sure, President Thar—I mean, SM Tharman.

Other than being the Government-linked candidate, the NTUC (the labour movement, not the supermarket…though the supermarket is under NTUC, too) has put their support behind him.


Labour Chief Ng Chee Meng also posted a Facebook post, welcoming President Thar—I mean, SM Tharman’s decision.

In the meantime, we’d know who our next President is by 13 September.

And just for your info, President Tharman is definitely eligible to run.


To know more about the Presidential Election 2023, watch this video to the end (yes, we predicted wrongly):


Here's a rather unexpected timeline of the $2.8 billion money laundering case in Singapore as revealed by Minister Josephine Teo during a parliament sitting on 3 October 2023:

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