Singapore votes first female president into power

Halimah YacobHalimah Yacob is surrounded by supporters on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, in Singapore. Yacob was named Singapore's eighth president on Wednesday without a vote. She is to take office at a later date. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Singapore voted its first female president into power, but the appointment has received criticism that she wasn’t elected democratically.


Halimah Yacob, who represents the Muslim Malay minority, is a former president of the National Assembly, didn’t stand, because the authorities decided that other candidates didn’t meet the strict criteria for election.

It isn’t the first time that the government has ruled out candidates, thus making a vote on the largely ceremonial position somewhat redundant to requirement.

This time the criticism was particularly strong because it was obvious that the presidency was being reserved for a particular ethnic group.

63 year old Yacob, who wears a hijab, responded to the criticism by promising that she will be a president for everybody.

For decades, the wealthy island of Singapore has been strictly, and authoritatively, ruled by the same party, and the president is elected directly by the National Assembly.


© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today