First hints on who could become next Singapore prime minister

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First hints on who could become next Singapore prime ministerSingapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) will likely name finance minister Heng Swee Keat as its first assistant secretary general, media said on November 22, indicating the 57-year-old career public servant is poised to become the city state’s next prime minister.

Following party polls on November 11, the PAP is expected to announce a new line-up of its top leadership shortly that will provide the firmest indication on who will succeed 66-year-old Lee Hsien Loong.

Contenders for the key role have narrowed to Keat and trade and industry minister Chan Chun Sing, but insiders said the person who is made first assistant secretary general – a position traditionally held by a deputy prime minister – will succeed Lee as the country’s fourth prime minister. Chan Chun Sing will likely be made the second assistant secretary general.

Loong, who has been in power since 2004, has signaled he intends to hand over the premiership by the time he turns 70 in 2022. The country’s general elections must be held by early 2021.

The PAP, in power since 1959, has a selection process for the prime ministership that observers say resembles the way “cardinals pick a pope.” The sitting premier stays out of the succession process and gives that responsibility to younger ministers who choose one among themselves as the first among equals.

Keat, a managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore from 2005 to 2011 and also principal private secretary to Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew – a coveted position in the Singaporean bureaucracy – is said to have been chosen because he could “rally the ground”.

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Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) will likely name finance minister Heng Swee Keat as its first assistant secretary general, media said on November 22, indicating the 57-year-old career public servant is poised to become the city state’s next prime minister. Following party polls on November 11, the PAP is expected to announce a new line-up of its top leadership shortly that will provide the firmest indication on who will succeed 66-year-old Lee Hsien Loong. Contenders for the key role have narrowed to Keat and trade and industry minister Chan Chun Sing, but insiders said the person who is made...

Reading Time: 1 minute

First hints on who could become next Singapore prime ministerSingapore’s ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) will likely name finance minister Heng Swee Keat as its first assistant secretary general, media said on November 22, indicating the 57-year-old career public servant is poised to become the city state’s next prime minister.

Following party polls on November 11, the PAP is expected to announce a new line-up of its top leadership shortly that will provide the firmest indication on who will succeed 66-year-old Lee Hsien Loong.

Contenders for the key role have narrowed to Keat and trade and industry minister Chan Chun Sing, but insiders said the person who is made first assistant secretary general – a position traditionally held by a deputy prime minister – will succeed Lee as the country’s fourth prime minister. Chan Chun Sing will likely be made the second assistant secretary general.

Loong, who has been in power since 2004, has signaled he intends to hand over the premiership by the time he turns 70 in 2022. The country’s general elections must be held by early 2021.

The PAP, in power since 1959, has a selection process for the prime ministership that observers say resembles the way “cardinals pick a pope.” The sitting premier stays out of the succession process and gives that responsibility to younger ministers who choose one among themselves as the first among equals.

Keat, a managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore from 2005 to 2011 and also principal private secretary to Singapore’s founding father Lee Kuan Yew – a coveted position in the Singaporean bureaucracy – is said to have been chosen because he could “rally the ground”.

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