On top of this expertise and experience however, the former People’s Action Party MP repeatedly emphasised his reputation for independent thinking.
“Through my many years in government as a minister, I have held onto my ideals of social justice and inclusiveness, and worked continually, year after year, to build consensus on practical and sustainable ways to uplift workers and ordinary citizens’ lives,” he said.
“While the President stands apart from the government, and does not make policies, I will never waver from this purpose in my life and independence of mind as I fulfill my duties.”
Mr Tharman also said that the presidency will become a more important post as Singapore faces a more divided world and a more diverse society.
Singapore’s real challenge is to ensure that a diversity of views does not lead the nation to become a more divided society, like many others, he said.
“We must be a democracy with more space for different views and a thriving civil society. But to be confident of our future, we must also be a society with a strong centre of shared aspirations and respect for all citizens,” he said.
“If I am fortunate enough to be elected by you, I pledge to bring my full experience and capabilities – on the ground, nationally, and internationally – to serve as your President for this new and more challenging era. I will serve you with all my heart,” he said.
A second election message from all three candidates will be aired on Aug 30.
On Sep 1, more than 2.7 million Singaporeans will head to the polls to vote in the country’s first contested Presidential Election since 2011.