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No date set yet for leadership handover, factors include 'best strategy to fight next GE': PM Lee

SINGAPORE — No date has been set yet for Singapore's next political leadership transition, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong saying there are several factors to consider including whether he will be the one leading the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) in the next General Election (GE), which is due by 2025.

No date set yet for leadership handover, factors include 'best strategy to fight next GE': PM Lee

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (left) and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong speaking at a press conference on leadership succession on April 16, 2022.

  • Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the timeline of his handover to Finance Minister Lawrence Wong has yet to be decided
  • He emphasised that it will be done when Mr Wong is ready 
  • It will be done carefully and deliberately, he added 
  • Mr Lee said that he and Mr Wong will decide later their best strategy to fight the next GE

SINGAPORE — No date has been set yet for Singapore's next political leadership transition, with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong saying there are several factors to consider including whether he will be the one leading the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) in the next General Election (GE), which is due by 2025.

Speaking during a press conference with senior editors on Saturday (Apr 16) on leadership renewal, Mr Lee however emphasised that the leadership transition will only be done when the identified leader of the fourth generation (4G) team, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, is ready.

Mr Wong on Thursday was announced as the overwhelming pick for 4G leader, settling once and for all the question on who will take over Mr Lee.

On previous occasions, Mr Lee had expressed his desire to retire by 70.

However the Covid-19 pandemic and the stepping aside of Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in April last year as his earmarked successor had thrown a spanner into the works.

I will discuss with Lawrence, and we will decide later what the best strategy is for us to fight the next General Election. It will depend on how things evolve.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on the leadership handover timeline

On Saturday, Mr Lee, who was flanked by Mr Wong, and former PAP Chairman Khaw Boon Wan, acknowledged that he is now already 70 and said that he was “looking forward to handing over to Lawrence once he's ready”.

Asked on whether the handover will be done before or after the next GE, which is due by 2025, Mr Lee said that he would do it “carefully and deliberately”.

"I will discuss with Lawrence, and we will decide later what the best strategy is for us to fight the next General Election," he said.

“It will depend on how things evolve. It's something we should decide later on,” he added.

Mr Goh Chok Tong became the second Prime Minister of Singapore in November 1990, about two years after the General Elections in September 1988. He had been identified as Lee Kuan Yew's successor five years before he took over.

As for Mr Lee, he was unveiled as Mr Goh's successor during the latter's National Day Rally speech in 2003. 

Mr Lee took over the role in in August 2004, about two years before the next polls in May 2006.

When posed a similar question about whether he needed to seek a mandate from the people sooner rather than later, Mr Wong said that while he had received the approval stamp from the Cabinet and party caucus, he acknowledged that “the mandate ultimately comes from the people”.

However, he said he would need time to consolidate the team and organise how they would tackle the pressing challenges facing Singapore first.

“I'm fully aware that the PM would like to hand over to me as soon as I'm ready. He has said this to you, he has said this to me more than once. I will bear that in mind as I embark on my new responsibilities.”

Related topics

PAP 4G leadership Lee Hsien Long General Election Lawrence Wong

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