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Singapore says Lawrence Wong will take over as prime minister on May 15

In News, World
April 16, 2024

Wong, currently deputy prime minister, will replace Lee Hsien Loong who has led the city-state since 2004.

Singapore has announced that Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong will take over as the country’s next leader on May 15.

Wong, 51, will succeed Lee Hsien Loong who has held the top job for 20 years.

Lee will “relinquish his office on 15 May 2024”, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement on Monday evening. “He will formally advise the President to appoint Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Mr Lawrence Wong to succeed him.”

In a video message released shortly afterwards, Wong said he accepted the position with “humility and a deep sense of duty”, according to the state-owned Straits Times.

“I pledge to give my all in this undertaking,” he said.

Wong, who gained plaudits for his handling of the island’s pandemic response, has been seen as Lee’s successor since April 2022, when the ruling party chose him as head of the “4G” or fourth generation of leaders in Singapore’s political jargon – politicians the party would like to take control of the government in the coming years.

Their previous choice, Heng Swee Keat, a former central bank chief and education minister, stepped aside suddenly in 2021 throwing the party’s succession plans into disarray.

The tiny island, sandwiched between Malaysia and Indonesia, plays an outsized role in international affairs as a key ally both to the United States and China.

But it is also facing more domestic challenges, particularly over the rising cost of living and immigration, while the ruling People’s Action Party has also been rocked by a rare corruption scandal.

Singapore’s government leaders are the world’s highest-paid with the prime minister taking home 2.2 million Singapore dollars ($1.6m) a year including bonuses.

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