EXCITING times. Singapore will see her 3rd consecutive election in 2017(after GE2015 and BB2016), the Presidential Election (PE) 2017. The whole nation gets to vote again, but how much do you know about the background and role of the Elected President (EP)? Let us break it down for you!
Number 1: What is the role of an Elected President?
– First and foremost, a symbol of our country and our face to the international community.
– Second, to safeguard our past reserves
– Third, powers of oversight in the civil service
The President is able to block attempts by G to draw down past reserves that it had not accumulated and at the same time, approve spending of reserves. The last and only time our past reserves were used was in 2008 when then President SR Nathan gave the approval to fund $4.9 billion worth of relief measures due to the global economic crisis. The President is also empowered to approve changes to key civil service positions, such as the Chief Justice, the Attorney-General, the Chief of Defence Force and the Commissioner of Police. He also commands control over decisions of the Executive under the Internal Security Act and the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act. At a glance, the President seems to hold a lot of powers but in actual fact; he only has custodial powers, not executive powers. The president has the ability to veto or block G actions in areas mentioned above but cannot advance in his own policy agenda.
2-Step Verification(2FA) – SingPass
The whole process works like 2FA when you are using your SingPass. After entering the password, there is a requirement to enter a One-Time Password (OTP) sent via SMS, or generated through an OneKey token. The President acts as the OTP as OneKey token before the access is provided. The President cannot initiate any actions on his own.
Number 2: Wise men of the President
They are called the Council of Presidential Advisers (CPA), consisting of eight members. When the constitution was changed in 1991 to give powers to the President, the CPA was put in place. These wise men provide advice to the President over the use of reserves and appointing key personnel in the service. Don’t worry, the President has a group of people to consult before making a decision.
How to identify a President wannabe?
In a hypothetical scenario, a hypothetical candidate promises to formulate his or her polices and run for presidency. This hypothetical candidate wants to be the counter and fight against the G. We would say that this hypothetical candidate did not even understand what being an Elected President is all about. Running of the G is still the responsibility of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. We would call this hypothetical candidate a dud.
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