Speaking recently to Bernama on the topic is succession, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said:
“I have a team of younger Ministers. I brought some of them in in 2011, some more last year in 2015. They are all working hard, doing well. I hope that soon after the next election, amongst them they will have decided, settled and the leader will be ready to take over from me.”
If the election of younger Ministers to the People’s Action Party’s (PAP) central executive council (CEC) is any indication, two clear frontrunners have appeared in the race to be Singapore’s next Prime Minister – Chan Chun Sing and Heng Swee Keat. The two were the only ‘younger Ministers’ elected to the CEC in the PAP’s 34th party conference.
Ten others were elected to the CEC besides the two and they are: Lee Hsien Loong, Khaw Boon Wan, Yaacob Ibrahim, Teo Chee Hean, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Lim Swee Say, K Shanmugam, Gan Kim Yong, Grace Fu and Halimah Yacob. Two others – Tan Chuan-Jin and Dr Vivian Balakrishnan – were co-opted to the CEC.
Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen was conspicuously not elected to the party’s new CEC. Sources say that his name was not on the ballot of candidates to be elected. It is unclear if he asked to be not included in the lineup, or if he was not nominated and seconded for party leadership. Dr Ng was elected to the 33rd CEC in January 2015 and held the position of organising secretary.
Mr Chan is the only ‘younger Minister’ who was elected to both the 33rd and 34th CEC of the PAP.