Elections Department reveals six applications made for Certificate of Eligibility for upcoming presidential election

SINGAPORE: With the nation’s eyes set on the upcoming Presidential Election scheduled for 1 September, the Elections Department (ELD) has announced that it has received six applications for the Certificate of Eligibility and 16 community declarations.

The Certificate of Eligibility (COE), a requisite for all presidential candidates, ensures that the candidates meet either public or private sector requirements, among other established criteria.

In addition to this, candidates are required to apply for a community certificate. This certificate allows contenders to declare their association with the Chinese, Malay, Indian or “Other Minority” communities.

Although the upcoming election is open to candidates of all races, the community declaration plays a crucial role in determining when the next reserved election will be conducted.

The provision mandates that if a particular community hasn’t seen representation in the presidential office for the past five terms, the subsequent election will be reserved exclusively for that community.

The process for these applications concluded at 5.30pm on Thursday, marking five days since the writ of election was issued by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Before the closing, four eminent figures had publicly broadcasted their intentions to run for the esteemed position.

These include former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam from the People’s Action Party, businessman George Goh, ex-GIC chief investment officer Ng Kok Song, and Tan Kin Lian, who had previously contested for the presidential seat.

Attention now turns to the upcoming Friday, when applications for a political donation certificate will come to a close.

Post this, the onus is on the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) to notify all aspirants regarding their eligibility status as candidates, which must be made at least a day before the Nomination Day, scheduled for 22 August.

So far, of the four, only Mr Tharman qualifies outright as a public sector candidate while the other three candidates have to await the PEC’s decision.

Mr Tan previously expressed concern over the inadequate time provided to approved candidates for printing the permitted number of posters and banners for distribution throughout Singapore.

He stated that accomplishing this task in less than a day is unfeasible. He noted that printing these materials in advance would mean that an unsuccessful candidate risks wasting a significant amount of money on materials that might go unused, should they not receive the COE.

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