SINGAPORE: Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong said that deputy prime minister Lawrence Wong will take over from him as leader of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) before the next general election, which is due by November 2025.
With the PAP widely expected to continue dominating elections, Wong is likely to become Singapore’s next prime minister. He would be the fourth premier to lead the Asian financial hub since its independence in 1965.
Lee, who has served as prime minister since 2004, is the eldest son of Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew.
He is also the secretary-general of the PAP, which has ruled the island nation since 1965. He announced last year that finance minister Wong, 50, would be his successor and promoted him to be his deputy.
“I have full confidence in Lawrence and his team and there’s no reason to delay their political transition. Therefore, I intend to hand over to DPM Lawrence before the next general election,” Lee said at an annual conference of the PAP.
Lee, 71, praised Wong and his team for the handling of the Covid-19 crisis and said they were increasingly setting the national agenda.
Wong was catapulted into the political spotlight as co-head of the government’s Covid-19 task force at the height of the pandemic.
He has mostly won praise for his handling of the virus. Under his leadership, Singapore imposed strict lockdowns, border curbs, and contact tracing, which kept deaths and infections to a minimum, especially early on in the pandemic.
However, after achieving one of the world’s highest vaccination rates, many had questioned the slow pace at which the city eased restrictions.