On a recent Sunday, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong made a significant announcement regarding the future leadership of the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP). He disclosed that Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong would succeed him as the leader of the PAP, a position that effectively makes Wong the frontrunner to become Singapore’s next prime minister. This transition is expected to take place before the upcoming general election, which is scheduled for November 2025.
The PAP, with its long history of electoral dominance in Singapore, is widely anticipated to maintain its stronghold in future elections. If Wong does indeed ascend to the position of prime minister, he would become the fourth leader to guide the Asian financial hub since its independence in 1965.
Lee Hsien Loong, who has held the prime minister’s office since 2004, is not only a prominent political figure but also the eldest son of Singapore’s founding father, Lee Kuan Yew. He serves as the secretary-general of the PAP, the party that has governed Singapore since its independence.
The decision to appoint Lawrence Wong as his successor was made public last year, and Wong was elevated to the position of deputy prime minister. Prime Minister Lee expressed his unwavering confidence in Wong and his team, asserting that there was no need to delay the political transition. Lee made this announcement during the annual conference of the PAP.
Lee Hsien Loong commended Lawrence Wong and his team for their adept handling of the COVID-19 crisis. He noted that they were increasingly influential in setting the national agenda, especially in addressing the challenges posed by the pandemic.
Wong gained prominence during the height of the pandemic as one of the co-leaders of the government’s COVID-19 task force. He received widespread praise for his management of the virus response, which included the implementation of stringent lockdowns, border restrictions, and effective contact-tracing measures. These measures played a pivotal role in keeping COVID-19 deaths and infections at a minimum, particularly during the early stages of the pandemic.
Despite Singapore achieving one of the world’s highest vaccination rates, some had voiced concerns about the relatively slow pace at which the city was easing COVID-19 restrictions. Wong’s leadership in navigating the complexities of the pandemic response will be a significant factor in shaping his leadership profile as Singapore prepares for its next phase under his leadership.