QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT
A person is qualified to be a candidate for election as President if he:
- is a citizen of Singapore;
- is at least 45 years old on Nomination Day;
- is registered as an elector in the current Registers of Electors;
- is resident in Singapore on Nomination Day;
- has been resident in Singapore for a total period of at least 10 years before Nomination Day;
- is not subject to any of the disqualifications specified in Article 45 of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (Constitution);
- is not a member of any political party on Nomination Day;
- satisfies the Presidential Elections Committee (PEC) that he is a person of integrity, good character and reputation; and
- satisfies the PEC that he has, at the date of the Writ of Election, met either the public sector service requirement or the private sector service requirement, and the period(s) of service that he relies on fall(s) partly or wholly within the 20 years immediately before the date of the Writ of Election.
Public sector service requirement
The public sector service requirement is that the person has:
- held office for three or more years as Minister, Chief Justice, Speaker of Parliament, Attorney-General, Chairman of the Public Service Commission, Auditor-General, Accountant-General or Permanent Secretary;
- served for three years or more as the chief executive of an entity specified in the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution;
- served for three or more years in an office in the public sector for which the PEC must be satisfied, having regard to the nature of the office and the person’s performance, that he has the experience and ability comparable to a person who satisfies public sector service requirement (a) or (b). The PEC must also be satisfied that he has the experience and ability to effectively carry out the functions and duties of the office of President; or
- held office or served for two periods of at least one year each in any of the above-mentioned offices, and the two periods add up to three or more years in total.
Private sector service requirement
The private sector service requirement is that the person has:
- served as the chief executive of a company and the following four criteria are met:
- the person’s most recent period of service as the chief executive of that company, ignoring any period of service less than a year, must be three or more years in length;
- the company must have, on average, at least $500m shareholders’ equity during the person’s most recent three-year period of service as chief executive;
- the company must have, on average, made profit after tax for the entire period during which the person served as the chief executive; and
- if the person has ceased to be the chief executive of the company before the date of the Writ of Election, the company must not have been subject to any insolvency event within three years of the person’s last day of service as the chief executive, or until the date of the Writ of Election, whichever is earlier;
- served for three or more years in an office in a private sector organisation and the PEC must be satisfied (having regard to the nature of the office, the size and complexity of the private sector organisation and the person’s performance in the office) that the person has the experience and ability comparable to a person who satisfies the criteria laid out in private sector service requirement (a). The PEC must also be satisfied that he has the experience and ability to effectively carry out the functions and duties of the office of President; or
- served for two periods of at least one year each in any of the above-mentioned offices, and the two periods add up to three or more years in total.
Details on how to calculate and determine shareholders’ equity and profit after tax, and on what constitutes an insolvency event, are set out in Part 3 of the Presidential Elections (Certificate of Eligibility) Regulations 2017.
Under both the public sector service requirement and private sector service requirement:
- chief executive, in relation to an entity or organisation, means the most senior executive of the entity or organisation, who is principally responsible for the management and conduct of the entity’s or organisation’s business and operations;
- company means a company limited by shares and incorporated or registered in Singapore under the general law related to companies; and
- period means continuous period.
The qualifications for the office of the President are set out in Article 19 of the Constitution.
ADDITIONAL QUALIFICATIONS IN A RESERVED ELECTION
An election for the office of President is reserved for a community if no person belonging to that community has held the office of President for any of the five most recent terms of office of the President.
A person is qualified to be elected as President if the person belongs to the community for which the election is reserved and satisfies the qualifications for the office of President.
The qualifications for the office of the President in a reserved election are set out in Article 19B of the Constitution.
DISQUALIFICATIONS FROM BEING A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE
A person is disqualified from being a candidate for election as President if, on Nomination Day, he:
- is the holder of a whole time office in the service of the Government (e.g. a Civil Servant);
- is of unsound mind;
- is an undischarged bankrupt;
- did not file returns respecting election expenses as required by law at any previous parliamentary or presidential election;
- has been convicted of an offence by a court in Singapore or any foreign country and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than one year or to a fine of not less than $10,000 (or its equivalent in a foreign currency when sentenced), for which he has not been pardoned;
- has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of, or exercised rights of citizenship in, another country or has declared allegiance to another country; or
- is disqualified under the Parliamentary Elections Act 1954 or Presidential Elections Act 1991 on account of having committed an election offence.
 Article 19A(5) of the Constitution sets out additional requirements which apply when a person is relying on one period as a chief executive of a company for the purpose of satisfying this requirement.
 Where an election is reserved for more than one community, a candidate who belongs to one of the reserved communities will not qualify if another qualified candidate belongs to a community from which a person has not held the office of President for a greater number of consecutive terms immediately before the election.
 Where a person is convicted by a foreign court, the offence must also be one that is punishable by a court in Singapore had the offence been committed locally.