During his tenure, President Ong Teng Cheong locked horns with the PAP government over the sale of Post Office Savings Bank to the Development Bank of Singapore and difficulty in obtaining information about Singapore's reserves, which the government said would take 56 man-years to compile. Close to the end of his term, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong and his Cabinet announced that they would not support him for another term, citing his health as the reason. Instead, they endorsed S. R. Nathan, who happened to be of Indian descent, which could rotate the President's office to another ethnic community representative. Through a press conference, President Ong agreed not to seek another term. Private tutor Ooi Boon Ewe applied for the Certificate of Eligibility but the Presidential Elections Committee ruled that he did not meet the necessary criteria. Also unsuccessful for a COE for a second time was DPP chairman Tan Soo Phuan. Nathan became the sole candidate granted the COE to file his nomination and won without a contest to become Singapore's sixth president, prompting some critics to label the exercise as a "Presidential (s)election". Polling day, originally scheduled on 28 August 1999, did not take place.

Writ of election: 4 August 1999 [Wed]
Nomination day: 18 August 1999 [Wed]
President swearing-in: 1 September 1999 [Wed]

Electorate: 1,967,984

Election deposit: $30,000 (+$12,000)

Sellapan RAMANATHAN, 75

Ambassador-At-Large [M]


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