Singapore: Deputy Prime Minister is set to become the new Prime Minister in May

Singapore: Deputy Prime Minister is set to become the new Prime Minister in May
Election Rally in Singapore, via Pixabay 2016.


Nuno Daun

Southeast Asia & Pacific Team 

Global Human Rights Defense

Singapore has announced that the Deputy Prime Minister, Lawrence Wong, will take over as the nation’s new Prime Minister and become its fourth-ever head of government on May 15, 2024, after a 20-year long government led by Lee Hsien Loong.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long

The current Singaporean Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Long, came into power in 2004 as the head of the People’s Action Party (PAP). Lee Hsien Long is the son of Singapore’s founding leader Lee Kuan Yew. The PAP, the party that has been governing Singapore since its independence in 1965, received the lowest share of votes in the 2020 elections. Ever since PAP has been trying to garnish public support as an attempt to solidify Singapore’s status as an economic powerhouse in the world’s geopolitics. The current Prime Minister had plans of stepping down in 2020 at the age of 70, but they were impeded by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Furthermore, PAP’s strategy was for the previous Deputy Prime Minister and Central Bank Chief, Heng Swee Keat, to be the nation’s next leader. However, Keat resigned in 2021 citing age and health concerns, leading to the overwhelming election of Lawrence Wong.

In a social media post, the current Prime Minister asked Singaporeans to “show their full support to Lawrence and his team, and work with them to create a brighter future for Singapore.”

Lawrence Wong

Following the resignation of Keat, Wong was elected with an overwhelming majority of 15 out of 19 votes. His position was unanimously supported by the Cabinet and PAP alike. Additionally, Wong was named acting Prime Minister in the absence of Long. 

Wong will now have to deal with the ardous task of maintaing Singapore’s current geopolitical balancing act. Although Singapore has cemented its position as Asia’s main financial hub, its open economy makes it vulnerable to macroeconomic issues between China and the West. Furthermore, Wong also faces the challenge of inequality, housing and rising costs of living. 

In reaction to his nomination, Wong took to social media stating “I accept this responsibility with humility and a deep sense of duty.  Together, we can build a future that shines brightly for all Singaporeans.”

PAP and Foreseeable Future

In February, PAP, after many years of portraying the image of a squeaky-clean political party, found itself in the middle of a scandal alleging corruption. Former cabinet minister, Iswaran, is alleged to have received more than $283.000 worth of gifts from the Malaysian billionaire, Ong Beng Seng, allegedly as a means of furthering Seng’s business interests. Iswaran denied all charges against him.

In the previous election it was observed that support for PAP has declined, with the majority of young voters opting for the Workers Party instead, which won ten seats.

In late 2023, Wong and his team launched a program which recommends a variety of measures to renew Singapore’s prosperity and equity. He is now set to be sworn in on May 15, 2024, as the nation’s fourth Head of Government.

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