1993 Singaporean presidential election

The Singaporean presidential election of 1993 was the first direct presidential election held in Singapore, as president had previously been elected by Parliament.[citation needed] Polling day was 28 August 1993, just before the end of president Wee Kim Wee's term on 31 August.

1993 Singaporean presidential election

28 August 1993 1999 →
Nominee Ong Teng Cheong Chua Kim Yeow
Party Independent Independent
Popular vote 952,513 670,358
Percentage 58.69% 41.31%

President before election

Wee Kim Wee

Elected President

Ong Teng Cheong

Two eligible candidates are Chinese Singaporeans and were issued certificates of eligibility by Singapore's Presidential Elections Committee, and both were nominated on Nomination Day. This was the first contested election and the first presidential race with only two candidates in Singaporean history.

The Returning Officer , Ong Kok Min declared Ong Teng Cheong as Singapore's fifth and first President-elect, with 58.69% of the valid votes cast . Ong Teng Cheong was inaugurated as the fifth President of Singapore on 1 September 1993.


Constitution AmendmentsEdit

In January 1991, the Constitution of Singapore[1] was amended to provide for the popular election of the President. The creation of the elected presidency was a major constitutional and political change in Singapore's history as, under the revision, the President is empowered to veto the use of government reserves and appointments to key civil service appointments. He or she can also examine the administration's enforcement of the Internal Security Act[2] and Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act,[3] and look into investigations of corruption.

By virtue of transitional provisions in the Singapore Constitution,[4] Ong's predecessor Wee Kim Wee exercised, performed and discharged all the functions, powers and duties of an elected president as if he had been elected to the office of President by the citizens of Singapore, until Ong took office.



Candidates Background Outcome
Ong Teng Cheong A member of the ruling People's Action Party and served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1985 to 1993. Application for the Certificate of Eligibility Accepted.
Chua Kim Yeow Singapore's first local accountant-general

Declared IneligibleEdit

Candidates Background Outcome
J. B. Jeyaretnam The leader of the Workers' Party from 1971 to 2001. In 1981, he became the first opposition politician since Singapore's independence in 1965 Application for the Certificate of Eligibility rejected.
Tan Soo Phuan A member of the Workers' Party from 1971 to 2001.

Nomination dayEdit

Candidates needed to obtain a Certificate of Eligibility from the Presidential Elections Committee, and pay an election deposit of S$18,000, three times that of a Parliamentary candidate, in order to file their nomination papers. Ong had earlier resigned his Deputy Prime Minister portfolio, his MP for Toa Payoh GRC (now belong to Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC), and his People's Action Party membership in order to contest in the election. Ong was backed by influential leaders such as then-Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and then-Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

However, some members of the Cabinet and the People's Action Party supported Chua, including then-Finance Minister Richard Hu[citation needed] and former Trade Minister, then-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Tony Tan Keng Yam[citation needed]. Workers' Party members J B Jeyaretnam[5] and Tan Soo Phuan also applied for nomination, but were not awarded the Certificate of Eligibility.

The writ of election was issued on 4 August 1993, with the Nomination day and Polling Day adjourned on 18 and 28 August 1993, respectively.

Chua's CampaignEdit

Chua was a reluctant candidate and had to be persuaded by the Government to stand so that the election would be contested, and the electorate could choose between two good candidates.[6]

The 10-day campaign was supposed to be a "gentlemen's election", free of flag-waving and noisy rallies. But Chua took it to the extreme, urging supporters not to campaign for him. He appeared on TV just twice (once avoiding any mention of himself or his views), and even announced on polling day that Ong was the better candidate. Even so, Chua did surprisingly well, garnering 41.3% of the vote.[7]


The Returning Officer was Ong Kok Min, who was in charge of GE1980, GE1981, GE1984, and GE1988.

Summary of the 28 August 1993 Singaporean presidential election results
Candidate Symbol Results
Votes Percentage (%)
Ong Teng Cheong   952,513 58.69
Chua Kim Yeow   670,358 41.31
Valid votes 1,622,871 97.80
Rejected votes 36,611 2.20
Total vote cast 1,659,482 100.00
Electorate / turnout rate 1,756,517 94.50


  1. ^ Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (1999 Reprint).
  2. ^ Internal Security Act (Cap. 143, 1985 Rev. Ed.).
  3. ^ Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (Cap. 167A, 2001 Rev. Ed.).
  4. ^ Singapore Constitution, above, Art. 163(1).
  5. ^ Template:South China Morning Post
  6. ^ Seow, Bei Yi (21 August 2016). "Chua Kim Yeow, Singapore's first local accountant-general, dies at age of 90". Straits Times. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  7. ^ Template:South China Morning Post

External linksEdit