Strong support for Lawrence Wong as 4G leader even without unanimous vote: political analysts



At Saturday’s press conference, Mr. Lee said that whether he or Mr. Wong would lead the ruling party in the next general election would be a decision for later.

“I will discuss with Lawrence, and we will decide later what is the best strategy for us to fight the next general election,” the Prime Minister told reporters, adding that it will depend on “how things develop”. The next general elections are to be held by 2025.

Mr Lee, who turned 70 in February this year, had previously said he wanted to quit when he turned 70. He then said he would stay to see Singapore through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Singapore’s eyes will be on whether Lee Hsien Loong or Lawrence Wong will lead the party in the upcoming elections, as this would indicate whether the baton of political leadership has truly passed from the 3G team to 4G,” Dr Mustafa said. Izzuddin, Senior International Business Analyst at Solaris Strategies Singapore.

But the decision to hand over to Mr Wong before or after the next polls will depend on a variety of factors, he added. This includes the sentiment of the field, the readiness of less experienced PAP candidates, the strength of the opposition, the COVID-19 situation and the state of the economy.

Ms Ngiow said failing to commit to a specific timeline when it comes to the leadership transition will provide Mr Wong “with the necessary space and a long enough track…to build public confidence in the leadership. 4G”.

NTU’s Dr Tan said there were benefits to having a political succession ahead of the next general election, such as how 3G leaders can focus on galvanizing support for Mr Wong’s team and on the political reaction to the leaders of 4G.

The upcoming election will also become a measure of the support Mr. Wong and his team can receive from the electorate.

On the other hand, downsides would include the possibility of an unfavorable response from the electorate, which does not bode well for Mr Wong’s leadership beyond 2025.

“Therefore, there must be a balance and Prime Minister Lee should consider these factors before making a decision,” Dr Tan said. “It won’t be easy.”

SMU’s Professor Assoc Tan said much will depend on how well Mr Wong is received, it is likely that Mr Lee will lead the PAP for a final general election given the relatively short track to the next polls.

“On the campaign trail, we can expect the ruling party to present Mr. Wong as the worthy successor to Mr. Lee,” he said.

Professor Tan also expects that if the transfer does not take place before the next election, then it can take place within 12 to 18 months after the election.

“Now that the question of succession is settled, there would be no inordinate delay in the transfer of power if the handover took place during this period,” he said.

Ms. Ngiow noted that regardless of the timing of the transition, Mr. Lee and Mr. Wong “will be held accountable for improving the performance of the PAP ahead of the next general election.”

“With the PAP’s less than ideal performance in 2020, Mr. Wong and Mr. Lee will likely focus on initiatives and policies aimed at ensuring better social outcomes for Singaporeans and helping the PAP gain more public support. “, she said.


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