Singapore names first woman president

SINGAPORE: Singapore named a former speaker of parliament as the multicultural city-state’s first woman president on Wednesday while critics expressed dismay that other candidates were disqualified and the election went uncontested.
Aiming to strengthen a sense of inclusivity, Singapore had decreed the presidency, a largely ceremonial six-year post, would be reserved for candidates from the minority Malay community this time.
The returning officer declared Halimah Yacob, 63, elected on Wednesday after nominations closed.
Of the four other applicants, two were not Malays and two were not qualified to contest, the elections department said on Monday. Halimah had automatically qualified because she held a senior public post for over three years.
If the election had been held, all citizens would have been eligible to vote.
Several critics went online to protest against the stringent eligibility rules, which include a stipulation that a candidate from the private sector should have headed a company with paid-up capital of at least S$500 million ($370 million).
The prime minister’s office said it had no comment on criticism of the election process. — Reuters

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