Singapore has elected 63-year old Halimah Yacob as its first female president which also makes her the first head of state to come from the county’s Malay community in almost five decades.
Halimah Yacob, a former speaker of parliament, did not face a vote for the largely ceremonial post after authorities said other candidates did not meet strict eligibility criteria.
She was declared Singapore’s eighth president after a “walkover” election that saw no vote after no other contenders ran for the position. She was the only candidate deemed eligible to stand in the country’s Elections Department, having held a key public position as speaker of parliament for three years.
The other two contenders, Salleh Marican and Farid Khan, were both denied eligibility, having fallen short of a constitutional rule that required any candidate from the private sector to have led a company with shareholder equity of at least 500 million Singapore dollars (372 million dollars).
Following the announcement, Yacob thanked her supporters in a speech, calling it “a proud moment for Singapore, for multiculturalism and multi-racialism.”
While some have applauded the historic moment, the election has also drawn public criticism due to what was seen as a lack of democratic process. Yacob addressed these concerns, saying “I am a president for everyone, regardless of race, language, religion or creed.”