Earlier this year Singapore held a General Election and last Saturday held Presidential Elections, the first contested election since 1993. As with my post about the General Election I do not propose to write about the whys, ways and wherefores of the system but I wanted to make reference to it nonetheless. Unlike with the General Election though I have not been in Singapore for the majority of the campaigning so have had to observe what I can from a distance.
The campaign ran from the 17 to the 25 August with 17 August being nomination day, in the end, and just to complicate things all the candidates shared the last name of Tan! During the campaign period each candidate was allowed to hold one rally and were able to campaign via the Internet, by going house-to-house, handing out flyers and displaying posters and banners. There were also broadcast interviews with the candidates on TV and opportunities to make statements via the media. As with the General Election there was a cooling off day the day before polling day to allow voters to consider who they wished to vote for. On this cooling off day no campaigning or new election advertising was allowed. Likewise a public holiday was given in lieu of election day. So although, if I had been in Singapore, I obviously could not have voted I could have enjoyed the benefits of another holiday.
The role of President is the Head of State role in Singapore and the position is largely ceremonial. There is a lot more information available on the role, the functions and history of it here.
In the end Dr. Tony Tan, a former deputy Prime Minister won by a narrow margin of 0.34% of the vote and was therefore elected as Singapore's new President. I have recently been reading several other blogs about the elections and if you are interested in finding out more I'd recommend taking a look at, WTF Mate and Singapore Actually who have both written a series of great posts on the subject.