* Tony Tan resigns as GIC executive director and SPH
chairman effective July 1
* Tan will run for president in upcoming elections
(Adds quotes, background)
SINGAPORE, June 23 Tony Tan, executive director
at Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC, said on Thursday he
has resigned and will run for president in an election that must
be held before end-August.
Tan, a former deputy prime minister, has also resigned as
chairman of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), which
controls almost all newspapers published in the city-state.
"There is no legal requirement for me to resign from GIC or
SPH. However, to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest, I
have decided to resign from GIC with effect from July 1," Tan
said in a statement.
"I will also resign from SPH with effect from July 1 to
remove any doubts about SPH's media independence," he added.
Although mostly ceremonial, Singapore's president has powers
to veto senior appointments to the civil service and
government-linked firms such as GIC, which manages around $250
billion, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.
The election comes after the ruling People's Action Party
(PAP) swept back to power in May general elections but with a
reduced percentage of votes.
Tony Tan, 71, will likely face former ruling party
parliamentarian Tan Cheng Bock, 71, who is also chairman of
Chuan Hup Holdings .
Tan Kin Lian, 63, the former chief executive of NTUC Income,
an insurance cooperative controlled by the government-backed
trade union body, has also announced his candidacy.
Tan Kin Lian has been endorsed by members of Singapore's
opposition. The PAP has yet to back any particular
Tony Tan said at a news conference: "I've made it clear
that I'm not seeking the backing of any political party but
obviously as a candidate I welcome support from all
Singapore's president is directly elected but the post has
only been contested once -- the first time it became an elected
post in 1993 -- mainly because potential candidates must meet
several tough requirements.
For instance, prospective candidates must either be a former
minister or top government servant. If the person comes from the
private sector, he or she must have been chairman or CEO of a
Singapore-based firm with a minimum paid-up capital of S$100
million ($81.1 million).
All candidates are then screened by a government committee
before the election is held.
Incumbent president S.R. Nathan, 86, a former senior
civil servant, has been in office for two six-year terms and was
elected unopposed both times. He has not announced if he would
retire or run for another term.
($1 = 1.233 Singapore Dollars)
(Reporting by Kevin Lim and Walter Sim)