The vote for me and what I stood for is a vote of confidence in Singapore itself, says new president Tharman

Thanking all of Singapore for his landslide victory in the presidential elections held yesterday, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the Indian-origin former Senior Minister of Singapore, said today, “I believe the vote for me and what I stood for is a vote of confidence in Singapore itself, a vote of optimism in how we can progress together and support each other as Singaporeans.”

President-elect of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam celebrates after his victory in the September 1 elections. Photo courtesy: Instagram/ (photo by Samuel He @saammm)

Posting a celebratory photo on his Instagram account, the new president, universally called “Tharman”, wrote early in the morning today: “I am truly humbled by the strong endorsement you have given me in our nation’s Presidential Election.”

Also read: Tharman wins Singapore presidential election with a landslide of 70 per cent votes

Tharman will be sworn in as the ninth President of Singapore — and the third of Indian origin — on September 14, after the term of the incumbent President Halimah Yacob ends on September 13.

In his social media post, he praised his fellow contestants, Chinese-origin rivals Ng Kok Song and Tan Kin Lian, saying: “My fellow candidates put full effort and energy into their campaigns, and made this a worthy contest. I thank and commend them.”

The post continued: “Above all, I thank my fellow Singaporeans, whichever way you voted, for your interest and calm engagement in the issues raised in the Election. I believe the vote for me and what I stood for is a vote of confidence in Singapore itself, a vote of optimism in how we can progress together and support each other as Singaporeans.”

Reiterating his main theme as a candidate — respect for each and everyone in Singapore — Tharman wrote: “It can, and must, be a future of deeper respect for each other, regardless of backgrounds and educational achievements. A future of closer interactions between our different faiths and cultures, so that we deepen our multicultural identity. A future of solidarity even as we hold to diverse views, which is natural in our democracy.”

He continued: “[It is] A future where every generation derives confidence and benefit from our national reserves, and feels fortunate that we are Singaporeans.

“A future where Singapore continues to be a partner of choice internationally, and is able to project its voice of reason in an endangered world.

“It will be my duty to use the roles and responsibilities of the President to help us advance this future of optimism and solidarity.

“I will honour your trust in me, and serve you with all my heart in the years to come.

“Majulah Singapura!”

Leaders congratulate Tharman

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was the first to congratulate Tharman. More messages came this morning from Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong; Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat; and Senior Minister Teo Chee Hean.

DPM Wong posted today on Facebook: “Congratulations Tharman Shanmugaratnam on your election as the next President of Singapore! As Mr Tharman has said, the election outcome is a vote of confidence in Singapore’s future, and augurs well for the stability and unity we all want for our little red dot.”

Wong added in his post that he looked forward to Tharman serving as the head of state in Singapore, “strengthening our solidarity as a country, bringing out the best in our people and representing our interests abroad!”

Tharman Shanmugaratnam with Singapore DPM Lawrence Wong on a previous occasion. Photo courtesy: Instagram/lawrencewongst

Congratulations were also sent by the US State Department, which said in a message: “The United States congratulates Tharman Shanmugaratnam on his election as the ninth president of the Republic of Singapore.

“The United States and Singapore share a longstanding and robust partnership built on a foundation of mutual respect, shared values, and common interests. We look forward to working closely with President-elect Shanmugaratnam and the people of Singapore to further strengthen the enduring bonds of friendship and cooperation between our two nations.

“We also extend our gratitude to President Halimah Yacob for her contributions to the U.S.-Singapore bilateral relationship during her historic tenure as Singapore’s first female president.”