SINGAPORE: The Workers’ Party said on Wednesday (Aug 30) that it believes “that the current qualifying criteria for presidential candidates is skewed towards PAP-approved candidates”.
Responding to media queries, the party said that the Elected Presidency (EP) “in its current form undermines parliamentary democracy”. The party added that the Elected Presidency serves as “an unnecessary source of gridlock – one that could potentially cripple a non-PAP government within its first term – and is an alternative power centre that could lead to political impasses. The Workers’ Party has consistently voiced its objection to and called for the abolishment of the EP, and to revert to a ceremonial presidency, which has been the Party’s position for over three decades”.
In their statement, the Workers’ Party added that it neither endorses any presidential candidate nor called upon its members or volunteers to assist them in any official capacity.
In its 2020 party manifesto, WP said the president should be appointed by parliament and should not be tasked to safeguard the past reserves and the integrity of the public service.
“Instead, a separate senate should be established and directly elected by the people to exercise all the discretionary powers currently vested in the elected president,” WP suggested. “Parliament should be able to overturn any Senate veto with a three-quarters majority.”
The party also made similar objections in a 2016 submission to a Constitutional Commission on the Elected Presidency, adding that parliament would be a “sufficient safeguard on reserves”.
Singaporeans will head to the polls on Friday to vote for the country’s ninth president. /TISG