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Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 12:58
Halimah Yacob formally elected Singapore's first woman president
By ​Reuters
Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 12:58 By ​Reuters

Former parliamentary speaker Halimah Yacob (right), named as the country's new president, waves to supporters with her husband Mohammed Abdullah Alhabshee as they arrive at the nomination centre in Singapore on Sept 13, 2017. (ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP)

SINGAPORE - Halimah Yacob, a former speaker of parliament, was declared elected as Singapore's first woman president on Wednesday, after the returning officer announced she was the sole candidate to qualify for the contest.

Singapore had decreed the presidency, a largely ceremonial post, would be reserved for candidates from the minority Malay community this time

Aiming to strengthen a sense of inclusivity in the multicultural city-state, Singapore had decreed the presidency, a largely ceremonial post, would be reserved for candidates from the minority Malay community this time.
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"Although this is a reserved election, I'm not a reserved president," Halimah said in a speech at the elections department office. "I'm a president for everyone."

Halimah's experience as house speaker automatically qualified her under the nomination rules.

Of the four other applicants, two were not Malays and two were not given certificates of eligibility, the elections department said earlier this week.

The last Malay to hold the presidency was Yusof Ishak, whose image adorns the country's banknotes.

Yusof was president between 1965 and 1970, the first years of Singapore's independence following a short-lived union with neighbouring Malaysia, but executive power lay with Lee Kuan Yew, the country's first prime minister.

The separation of Singapore from Malaysia gave ethnic Malays a clear majority in Malaysia, while ethnic Chinese formed the majority in independent Singapore. 
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