economy and politics

Singapore prepares leadership change after 20 years: Lawrence Wong to succeed Lee Hsien Loong as Prime Minister

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that he will hand over the role to current Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong on May 15, marking the first leadership change in the city-state in two decades.

Lee, 72, had originally planned a succession for November 21 this year, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the People's Action Party (PAP), but decided to bring it forward.

“For any country, a leadership transition is a significant moment,” Lee said on social media, urging Singaporeans to support Lawrence Wong and his team in building a brighter future for Singapore.

Lawrence Wong, 51, who has been unanimously endorsed by PAP lawmakers, will take office with humility and a deep sense of duty, he said in his Facebook statement following the announcement.

Wong began his career as a civil servant in 1997 and has held various ministerial positions, including Minister of Culture, Community and Youth, Minister of National Development and Minister of Education. He came to prominence publicly in 2020 as co-chair of the task force to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, coordinating key government responses during that period.

Following the transition, Wong will lead the PAP in the next general election, scheduled for November 2025.

Associate Professor of Law at Singapore Management University, Eugene Tan, said the advancement in succession could be related to the PAP's intention to take advantage of the uncertain geopolitical climate to its advantage.

Lee Hsien Loong, son of founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, took office in 2004 and has been part of a generation of leaders who have guided Singapore since its independence in 1965.

The handover to Lawrence Wong marks a new stage in Singapore's political history, with expectations about how he will lead the country and the party in the near future.

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