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Singapore May Signal Premier Lee's Likely Successor This Week

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong smiles during the Closing Ceremony of the ASEAN Summit and Related Summit in Singapore, November 15, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su

By Melissa Cheok

Singapore may give its strongest signal yet this week about who might succeed Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong as leader.

The ruling People’s Action Party will announce its new office holders Friday, and the post to watch will be that of first assistant secretary-general, the Straits Times reported, citing unidentified party sources. Contenders for the key role have narrowed to Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat, 57, and Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, 49, the newspaper said.

Lee has signaled he intends to hand over the premiership by the time he turns 70 in 2022. The country’s general elections must be held by early 2021.

Heng and Chan are part of a group of younger ministers known as the country’s fourth-generation leaders, and have both been seen as leading candidates to become the next leader.

Seven other fourth-generation leaders may also become increasingly prominent in the coming months, the Straits Times said. They include Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.