Singapore’s Speaker of Parliament Halimah Yacob will contest for presidential election next month, becoming the first woman to run for the highest office.
Halimah, 62, will step down as speaker, a post she has held since 2013, and as an MP for Marsiling-Yew Tee GRC, The Straits Times reported. She will also resign from the People’s Action Party, where she is a member of the central executive committee.
Announcing her decision, Halimah, who had been in public service for 40 years, told residents and grassroots leaders that, “Taking part in the presidential election would allow me to continue with my service to the people of Singapore.”
The upcoming election is reserved for Malay candidates, following changes to the law last year to ensure the presidency reflects Singapore’s multiracial society. She will also resign from the ruling People’s Action Party, where she is a member of the central executive committee.
“It was a tough decision to make,” Halimah, with her 62-year old husband Mohammed Abdullah Alhabshee alongside her, told reporters. She has been the speaker since 2013 and participated as Malay community leader in the 2001, 2006, 2011 and 2015 general elections.
This year’s presidential election will be held in September. Applications opened on Jun 1 and will close five days after the writ of election is issued sometime this month.