SINGAPORE — Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam’s landslide victory in the Presidential Election is a clear reflection of his immense popularity and the effectiveness of his campaign, but the strong mandate he has received means that expectations will also be high for him to make good on his promises to voters, analysts said.
WHAT NEXT FOR PRESIDENT THARMAN?
Analysts who spoke to TODAY agreed that entering the highest office here with such a high vote share, all eyes would be on Mr Tharman to deliver the promises that he had made during his campaign.
“I think the test is now on him to lead and for him to deliver on the pledges, and also to carry out his presidential duties in the way that he is expected to do,” Dr Mustafa said.
Assoc Prof Tan said: “I think we will have to believe that Mr Tharman will have the heart and also the kind of tenacity to push his campaign slogan across. I think, let the man show Singaporeans what he meant by that. I think he has the next five years to do so and we will hold him responsible for these promises that he has made.”
These promises include uplifting society, helping the less fortunate, engendering deeper respect among Singaporeans for one another and being a good representative for the country on the international stage.
Dr Mustafa said of Mr Tharman’s message that he can help Singapore stand strong on the world stage: “Obviously, he has an international standing but (this election) reaffirms the diligence, support and confidence that Singaporeans have in him to represent them abroad.”
He also said it is highly unlikely that Mr Tharman would have made empty promises, and foresees his strong mandate helping him achieve these pledges “more effectively”.
However, the next few years of Mr Tharman’s presidency will be a “litmus test” of his ability to deliver, he added.
Assoc Prof Tan said that this strong mandate puts Mr Tharman in a good position to have a healthy dynamic with the fourth generation (4G) of Singapore’s political leaders, led by Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.
“We are in the midst of a leadership renewal and succession. I think if I were on the 4G team, I would certainly want to leverage the counsel, the experience and the expertise of Mr Tharman,” he added.
“I think there will be mutual respect and confidence, as long as the Government continues to do what it is supposed to do.”