SINGAPORE: A Bill to amend the Presidential Elections Act was tabled in Parliament on Monday (Jan 9). The changes are intended to effect amendments to the Constitution which were passed in November last year, and to improve the processes and procedures of the upcoming Presidential Election.
Under the proposed rules, the deadline for prospective Presidential Election candidates to apply for a certificate of eligibility will be extended to five days after the writ of election is issued, up from the current three days.
It also proposes that the minimum interval between the issue of the Writ of Election and Nomination Day be raised to 10 days from the current five. This allows the Presidential Elections Committee more time to assess the applications.
The Bill also proposes that a committee be set up to ascertain which race a candidate belongs to. It will comprise a chairman and three sub-committees with five members each, and all 16 members will be appointed by the Prime Minister.
Every candidate in a reserved election will need to have a community certificate for the relevant community before he can stand. So for example, in the coming Presidential Election, the Community Committee will only accept applicants who declare themselves belonging to the Malay community.
The Bill also provides for open elections to be held if no candidate is successfully nominated at a reserved election. In such a case, the Prime Minister will issue a fresh writ, declaring either an open election or a reserved election for the next eligible community.