Former foreign affairs minister George Yeo has confirmed that he will not be contesting the next presidential election.
The next presidential election is expected to take place in 2023, as the incumbent, President Halimah Yacob, assumed office for a six-year term in September 2017.
The next presidential election will be an open election.
Singapore's presidential elections are generally open to prospective candidates from all races. However, since 2016, they will be reserved for a certain community if no person belonging to that community has held the office of the President for any of the last five terms of office.
Yeo: I'm a bit of a free spirit
Speaking to Lianhe Zaobao in an interview on his new book, "George Yeo: Musings", Yeo was asked if the release of the book could be seen as a way of building momentum for a potential presidential bid.
Yeo responded that running for president is "not a prospect which attracts [him]".
The book is written by Yeo, with Woon Tai Ho and is a collection of his musings across various diverse topics. The first of three parts will be available at all major bookstores from September 2022.
"I've given my views on this before, and maybe this book will sharpen it -- that I'm a bit of a free spirit. I like to talk. I like to speculate, to talk more widely. Sometimes, I'm politically incorrect in the things I say.
Now that I'm in semi-retirement, I relish and cherish this freedom. If you are president, you have to be disciplined in the way you behave and in the way you speak.
I'm not saying that I should be undisciplined, but you know, it is... When I think about it, I said no, this is going to really constrain me and I'd rather be freer."
After this lengthy clarification, the interviewer asked if this means that Yeo will not be running for president.
He confirmed this with a clear, "Yes."
The interviewer then questioned if Yeo will reconsider if there is a potential walkover, to which he shared that he is "sure there [will be] many candidates".
Our current president, President Halimah, had a walkover election victory in September 2017 as she was unopposed in our first reserved Presidential Election.
Top photo from George Yeo's Facebook