SINGAPORE: In line with its commitment to ensuring transparent and accountable political processes, the Singapore Elections Department (ELD) has announced that the returns and declarations submitted for the Presidential Election 2023 are now available for online inspection. This initiative is part of the stipulations under the Presidential Elections Act of 1991, which mandates the disclosure of campaign financial records.
The Act requires the principal election agent of each candidate to submit detailed returns on election expenses and corresponding declarations by both the agent and the candidate to the Returning Officer. These submissions must occur within 31 days following the official announcement of election results in the Government Gazette.
Adding to the rigor of the 2023 election process, the ELD enforced a campaign budget ceiling for all presidential candidates. The maximum expenditure was set at S$812,822.10, a figure calculated based on the current register of 2,709,455 eligible voters. This strategic move is aimed at ensuring a level playing field for all candidates, preventing the process from being skewed by financial muscle rather than merit and public appeal.
For a detailed review of the campaign financial declarations, individuals can access these records on the ELD’s official website (https://www.eld.gov.sg) from October 20, 2023, to April 19, 2024. The documents will be available via ELD’s digital service after 9 am on October 20, 2023, with viewers requiring a Singpass login for access.
The 2023 presidential elections, held on September 1, was the third instance in Singapore’s history where multiple candidates contested for the presidency. The elections followed President Halimah Yacob’s decision not to seek re-election after her uncontested win in 2017.
The recent elections concluded with former Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam winning a decisive 70.41% of the votes, an outcome that established records in terms of victory margin and represented the direct election of Singapore’s first non-Chinese president.
Tharman’s fellow contenders, Ng Kok Song, former GIC investment officer, and Tan Kin Lian, former NTUC CEO, also ran as independents, having dissociated themselves from previous political affiliations. Each candidate met the requisite eligibility criteria, including obtaining the necessary Certificate of Eligibility and a community certificate.
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