With the nine-man Constitutional Commission mulling over “possible changes” to the Elected Presidency, former presidential candidate Tan Cheng Bock is attempting to check the Constitutional Committee by announcing his candidacy...17 months before the Presidential Election.
In 2011, Tan came within a hair’s breadth of becoming Singapore’s head of state. A veteran Member of Parliament (MP) of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), Tan retired as an MP in 2011 and then entered the Presidential Election against PAP candidate Tony Tan. He lost to Tony Tan by a mere 0.34 percentage point, or 7,382 votes.
Everyone in Singapore believes that Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong set up the Constitutional Commission to ensure the presidency stays within the control of the PAP. He does not want another contest as close as the one in 2011. It seems Tan thought this as well and is now trying to pre-empt the Constitutional Commission.
It probably will not work, but Tan is showing Singapore his political skills and experience by making it as difficult as possible for the PAP to stop him from contesting the Presidential Election in 2017. Not only that, he is also making it doubly hard for the PAP to do away with the election all together. How can you get rid of an election when there is already a viable candidate for it already?
So well played, Mr. Tan, well played!