The BGA Singapore Team, led by Managing Director Nydia Ngiow, wrote an update to clients on Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s announcement that he will run for president.


  • Tharman announced June 8 that he will retire from politics and from his positions in government to run in the country’s upcoming presidential election, to be held by September 13. He will on July 7 resign from the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) and step down from his roles as senior minister and coordinating minister for social policies and chairman of the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Tharman’s announcement follows incumbent President Halimah Yacob’s May 29 revelation that she will not run for reelection.
  • Halimah’s term will end September 13, which is the last possible date the election can be held. Candidates may begin campaigning after the notice of a contested election is issued.


  • As the first candidate to step forward, Tharman’s announcement may signal the PAP’s anxiety about the upcoming elections, with the party choosing to play its trump card. The PAP is clearly hoping to leverage Tharman’s widespread popularity, which carries significant weight given the public’s less-than-favorable sentiment toward the ruling party amid the current global economic climate and pressing domestic concerns like inflation and the increased cost of living.
  • Tharman is likely to be victorious even if the election is contested, but this does not necessarily translate into positive sentiment toward the ruling party. The PAP should not expect a victory for Tharman to indicate a triumphant showing at the polls or to serve as a panacea ahead of the general election.


  • Although the presidential election may not have a significant, direct impact on businesses, companies can expect that a president with strong ties to the ruling party and a well-established reputation on the international stage will help maintain Singapore’s political and economic stability. Companies should also expect an upcoming Cabinet reshuffle soon given Tharman’s withdrawal from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s Cabinet, which could impact how companies engage key stakeholders in the coming months.
  • Tharman’s departure from politics will have a minimal impact on the PAP’s stewardship; however, should Tharman emerge as victorious in the upcoming presidential election, it could strengthen the party’s mandate during the 4G leadership transition and its brand ahead of what leaders anticipate will be a challenging battle in the next general election. The forthcoming presidential election holds immense importance in determining the party’s trajectory.

BGA will continue to monitor and provide analysis of relevant political developments in Singapore. If you have any questions or comments, please contact BGA Singapore Managing Director Nydia Ngiow at

Best regards,

BGA Singapore Team