The Dawn of a New Political Era: Unpacking the 2023 Singapore Presidential Elections


It’s the day after the 2023 Presidential Elections in Singapore – the first time in 12 years that citizens streamed into polling stations to cast their votes for the nation’s head of state. For a country renowned for its political stability and long-tenured leaders, the outcome was as many had forecast: no surprises, and no upsets disrupted the established order.

Tharman’s landslide victory of 70.4% over his political rivals, was the first time an establishment-endorsed candidate won a decisive majority of votes since the Elected Presidency came to be, back in 1991. With it, the transition from the old guard to the new seems almost complete.

Welcome to the era of Tharman Shanmugaratnam and Lawrence Wong. One a veritable statesman, and the other a wartime champion who was catapulted to political stardom for his leadership of the COVID-19 taskforce.

Now that the dust is settling, many among us are in a reflective mood. The pageantry of the campaigns, the frenzy of the reportage, and the earnest debates over dinner tables will soon be another memory in what is turning out to be a politically eventful 2023.

Yet beyond spectacle and soundbites, our nation ought to reflect on the insights worth noting from this election season – especially where it concerns the role of the elected presidency and its place in the distribution of powers in Singapore.

As we unpack the electoral outcomes and political analyses that will flood our screens over the coming few days, perhaps we can all walk away with a few insights.

Regardless proposes six insights for your consideration.

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