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Singapore’s future-designate Heng Swee Keat steps down – Times of India

SINGAPORE: Singaporefuture designated head of, deputy prime minister Heng Swee Keat, withdrew from the race in a surprise move, saying in a letter published Thursday that a younger person with a “longer track” should become the next prime minister.
Announcement cancels country’s succession plans after current prime minister retires Lee hsien loong. Lee, 69, had planned to retire at 70 but has indicated he could stay until the coronavirus crisis is over.
Singapore has been ruled by the People’s Action Party since its independence in 1965, and the succession is usually planned years in advance.
In his letter, posted on the Prime Minister’s Office website, Heng, who turns 60 this year, said the pandemic is likely to be prolonged and that “I will be close to the mid-1960s when the crisis is over. “.
“I would have too short a track if I then became the next prime minister,” he wrote. “We need a leader who will not only rebuild Singapore after Covid-19, but also lead the next phase of our nation-building effort.”
Heng suffered a stroke in 2016, raising questions about his long-term health.
“I know that the high level position places exceptional demands on the incumbent,” he writes. “Although I am in good health today, it is in the best interest of the nation for someone younger to take on the enormous challenges ahead.”
Prime Minister Lee said in a separate letter that he understood and respected the decision.
Heng will remain deputy prime minister, but will step down as finance minister in the next cabinet reshuffle, Lee said. The reshuffle is expected in about two weeks.

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