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Singapore to get first female president, Halimah Yacob, without vote

Singapore got its first female president Wednesday, September 13, and selection was made without a vote.

Halimah Yacob, a former speaker of parliament from the Muslim Malay minority, did not have to face an election for the largely ceremonial post after authorities decided her rivals did not meet eligibility criteria.

It was the first time that the presidency had been reserved for a particular race, in this case the Malay community.

The decision to hand her the job without an election added to the anger.

63-year-old who wears a headscarf, was formally announced as president with Facebook user Pat Eng says,  “Elected without an election. What a joke.”

Some posts were marked with the hashtag #NotMyPresident in social media.

“I’m a president for everyone. Although there’s no election, my commitment to serve you remains the same,” Halima said.

Halimah added she would “start working immediately” to bring the country together.

“Every woman can aspire to the highest office in the land when you have the courage, determination and will to work hard,” she said.

Halimah is the first Malay president of Singapore for almost five decades.

The last was Yusof Ishak, president from 1965 to 1970.

Five people had originally put their names forward for the presidency and the government had scheduled an election for September 23.

Two were quickly eliminated as they were not Malay.

The two others, Malay businessmen, were disqualified as their companies were smaller than required by strict new eligibility rules introduced last year.

Halimah automatically qualified as she has held public office. She will be inaugurated in a ceremony on Thursday.

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