The citizens of Singapore in accordance with the legislations indicated below elect the President. The President shall be the Head of State and hold office for a term of 6 years. The first presidential election was held on 28 August 1993.
Legislations governing the conduct of the presidential election comprise:
The Right to Vote
The registers of electors produced in accordance with the Parliamentary Elections Act which are in operation at the time of any election shall be conclusive evidence of a person’s right to vote at that election.
Conduct of Election
The presidential election has to be conducted as follows:
Writ of Election
The Prime Minister will issue a writ under the public seal, addressed to the Returning Officer specifying:
Notice of Election
After the Prime Minister has issued the writ, the Returning Officer will issue a notice, at least 4 clear days before the Nomination Day, stipulating:
The proposer’s, seconder’s and assentors' names must appear in any of the registers of electors in operation;
Presidential Elections Committee
The function of the Presidential Elections Committee is to ensure that candidates for the office of President have the qualifications referred to in Article 19 of the Constitution. The Chairman of the Public Service Commission chairs the Committee, which comprises 2 other members - one is the Chairman of the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority and the other is a member of the Presidential Council for Minority Rights nominated by the Chairman of the Council.
Candidates are required to present their nomination papers and certificates to the Returning Officer, in duplicate and in person, at the nomination centre between 11 a.m. and 12 noon, accompanied by their proposer, seconder and at least 4 assentors.
At the close of the nomination, if only one candidate stands nominated, the Returning Officer will declare the nominated candidate elected to the office of President.
Where more than one candidate stands nominated, the Returning Officer will adjourn the election to a date where a poll will be taken, i.e. Polling Day. The Returning Officer will allot to each candidate an approved symbol.
Notice of Contested Election
The notice of contested election, issued by the Returning Officer, will specify:
Candidates can start campaigning after the notice of contested election is issued, up to the start of the day before Polling Day (which is the Cooling-Off Day). Candidates may also be given air-time by the television stations.
The campaigning activities are restricted to:
No candidate is allowed to advertise over television, in newspapers, magazines or periodicals, or in a public place, unless he is authorised to do so in accordance with the directions of the Returning Officer.
The maximum amount a candidate can spend on election expenses is $600,000 or an amount equal to 30 cents per elector on the registers of electors, whichever is the greater.
The eve of Polling Day is designated as Cooling-Off Day, a day when election campaigning is prohibited. This 24-hour campaign silence period is to give voters some time to reflect rationally on issues raised during the election before going to the polls.
There are some exceptions to the prohibition of campaign activities on Cooling-Off Day:
The above exception list also applies to Polling Day.
Persons, whose names are found in the registers of electors in operation will receive a poll card which will be mailed to their latest NRIC address well before Polling Day.
On Polling Day, they can go to their allotted polling stations to cast their votes any time between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.
After the close of the polls, the ballot boxes containing the votes cast will be sealed and transported to the respective counting centres.
Singapore citizens abroad who have been registered as overseas electors can cast their votes at the overseas polling stations allotted to them.
Polling overseas may take place before voting starts in Singapore but has to close before polling ends in Singapore. After an overseas poll is closed, the ballot boxes will be brought back to Singapore for counting and they must reach the Returning Officer not later than 10 days after Polling Day.
Counting of Votes
After the count, the Assistant Returning Officer will transmit the results of counting to the Returning Officer at the principal counting place. The Returning Officer will compile the results received from all counting centres in Singapore. If the overseas votes have no impact on the outcome of the election, the Returning Officer will declare the candidate to whom the greatest number of votes is given to be elected. If the overseas votes have impact on the outcome, the Returning Officer will announce the number of votes cast in Singapore in favour of each candidate and will defer the declaration of the candidate elected until the day the overseas votes are counted. After counting the overseas votes, the final results will be published in the Singapore Government Gazette.
Election Expenses Returns
The election agents of all candidates who contested in a presidential election must submit a declaration and a return of election expenses to the Returning Officer within 31 days of the day on which the result of the election is published in the Singapore Government Gazette.