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Four candidates confirmed in Singapore presidential election

(Xinhua)

16:29, August 17, 2011

SINGAPORE, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- The candidacy of four people, all surnamed Tan, were officially confirmed on Wednesday for presidential elections in Singapore.

Their candidacy were confirmed as Returning Officer Yam Ah Mee officially announced the list of candidates at noon as supporters cheered at the nomination center. Voters will go to the polls on Aug. 27.

The candidates are Tan Kin Lian, Tony Tan, Tan Cheng Bock and Tan Jee Say.

Tony Tan, 71, was the obvious forerunner. He was deputy prime minister from 1995 to 2005. He joined politics in 1979 and led ministries such as education, finance, trade and industry as well as health before leaving the cabinet to head the OCBC Bank between 1991 and 1995.

He was most recently deputy chairman and executive director of sovereign wealth fund -- the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation (GIC) and chairman of Singapore Press Holdings, which publishes the leading newspapers Lianhe Zaobao and the Straits Times.

He also had the support of local organizations including clan associations and the labor unions.

Tan Cheng Bock, 71, was a doctor and former lawmaker known for his straight-forward comments on important issues. Tan Kin Lian, 63, was a former chief of an insurance co-operative run by a labor organization in Singapore. Tan Jee Say, 57, used to be a senior civil servant.

The president is largely ceremonial in Singapore. To run for presidency, the candidates must first qualify for a certificate of eligibility with conditions such as integrity, the experience as a minister, chief of justice or some other similar positions, or three years of experience as a chairman or chief executive officer of a statutory board or company with a paid-up capital of at least 100 million Singapore dollars (82.6 million U.S. dollars), or serving in a similar capacity.

The candidates also has to deposit a sum that will not be returned if his share of the votes is less than 12.5 percent.

The four candidates get their certificate of eligibility earlier this month.

They will each be allowed to hold an outdoor rally at designated sites before Aug. 26, which will be a cooling-off day.

Singapore held its first presidential elections in 1993. Before that, the president is chosen by the lawmakers.

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