In a historic victory, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, of Indian origin, has emerged as the 9th President of Singapore after a resounding win in the recent presidential election. The Election Commission made the announcement late on Friday night, marking a significant moment in Singapore’s political history. Shanmugaratnam’s triumph was particularly noteworthy as he defeated two opponents of Chinese origin, securing an impressive 70.4% of the votes cast on September 1st.
Singapore’s Election Department reported a high voter turnout, with 2.53 million out of 2.7 million eligible voters participating, amounting to a remarkable turnout of 93.4%. Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s substantial margin of victory was evident in the fact that he received twice as many votes as both of his opponents combined.
Reacting to his victory, Shanmugaratnam expressed his gratitude to the citizens of Singapore for their trust and support, emphasizing that their decision would not be in vain. He acknowledged the responsibility that came with the presidency and pledged to serve the nation with dedication and integrity.
Notable figures from across the globe extended their congratulations to the newly elected President. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed his best wishes to Shanmugaratnam and expressed his eagerness to strengthen the ties between India and Singapore during his tenure. Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong also congratulated Tharman and expressed confidence in his ability to fulfill the presidential role successfully.
However, it’s worth noting that not everyone was pleased with the election results. One of the defeated candidates, Tan Kin Lian, voiced his discontent and called for a return to the old method of having Parliament elect the President. This election marked the first time in 11 years that Singaporeans had the opportunity to directly vote for their President, a ceremonial position akin to India’s presidency.
Tharman Shanmugaratnam, born on February 25, 1957, in Singapore, has a family history with roots tracing back to Tamil Nadu, India. His grandfather immigrated to Singapore, and his father, Prof. K. Shanmugaratnam, was a renowned medical scientist, often referred to as the father of pathology in Singapore.
Shanmugaratnam, an accomplished economist educated at Cambridge, is widely recognized as a policy influencer in Singapore. He is known for his outspokenness on global issues, advocating for humility among superpowers like China and the United States, emphasizing the importance of developing countries on the world stage.
In addition to his impressive career in politics, Tharman Shanmugaratnam is a family man. His wife, Jane Itogi, is of Chinese-Japanese descent, and they met during their time at Cambridge University. They have a daughter, Maya Vakil, and three sons, one of whom, Akash, is a co-founder of a prominent software tech company, Kryon Data. Another son, Krishna Economics, is actively involved in the field of economics, while Arjun is a student at the Singapore American School.
Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s election as the 9th President of Singapore also makes him the first Indian to hold this prestigious office. He joins the ranks of two previous Presidents of Indian origin, Deven Nair, and S. R. Nathan, who served from 1999 to 2011. Since 1991, the common people of Singapore have played a pivotal role in electing their President through the voting process, reflecting the country’s commitment to democracy.
This victory adds to the growing list of prominent individuals of Indian origin making significant contributions on the global stage. Across the world, leaders like Rishi Sunak in Britain and numerous Indian-origin politicians in various countries are making their mark in government and opposition roles. Canada, in particular, boasts a notable Indian presence, with 19 Members of Parliament, including three cabinet ministers, hailing from the Indian community. The influence of the Indian diaspora in international politics continues to grow, contributing to the global diversity of leadership.