ROSLAN RAHMAN AFP SINGAPORE - Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Saturday that Finance Minister Lawrence Wong would succeed him as city-state leader.
According to an announcement on Thursday, Wong was chosen as the leader of the ruling People's Action Party's so-called fourth generation team, paving the way for him to become prime minister.
The succession of leadership in the country, governed by the PAP since its independence in 1965, is a carefully planned affair. But a surprise decision by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat last year to step aside as Lee's designated successor disrupted leadership planning.
The plan is to have Lawrence replaced me as PM, either before or after the PAP wins the next general election. Lee said it will be a tough fight in 2025 and it will be a tough fight in a social media post on Saturday.
Lee, whose father Lee Kwan Yew was the island nation's independence leader, has been prime minister since 2004.
Stability is one of the major strengths of Singapore, making it a haven for investors and businesses in a region where political upheaval is not uncommon.
Wong, 49, who helped steer the Southeast Asian city-state through the COVID-19 pandemic as co-chair of the government's taskforce, had been tipped by analysts as a potential successor to Lee, 70.
Since its independence in 1965, leadership succession in the country is governed by the PAP, which is a carefully planned affair.
A sudden decision last year by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat to step aside as Lee's designated successor disrupted leadership planning.
I am already 70 and I look forward to hand over to Lawrence once he is ready," Lee told a news conference. He said that they would decide later whether he or Wong would lead the party into the next general election.
Singapore is vying to maintain its status as a hub of international commerce, despite travel restrictions and strict regulations that made it a pandemic success story.
Wong said when asked about the major issues facing the country, the pandemic is not over, we have to get through it.
There are significant economic challenges to deal with due to the war in Ukraine, not least the threat of higher and more persistent inflation and weaker growth. He said that the country would need to look over the horizon to position itself in a more complex, volatile and unpredictable world.