Lee steps aside to let young blood lead Singapore
SINGAPORE: Founding prime minister Lee Kuan Yew has announced his retirement from the city-state's cabinet to make way for a younger generation leaders.
The surprise statement came a week after the opposition scored a major breakthrough in elections that revealed deep resentment against the People's Action Party (PAP), which has ruled since 1959.
Goh Chok Tong, Singapore's second premier, is also to retire, according to a joint statement from the men released yesterday.
''We have studied the new political situation and thought how it can affect the future. The time has come for a younger generation to carry Singapore forward in a more difficult and complex situation,'' the statement said.
''After a watershed general election we have decided to leave the cabinet and have a completely younger team of ministers to connect to and engage with this young generation in shaping the future of our Singapore.''
Mr Lee's son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, is due to form a new government soon after the PAP was returned to power in the May 7 polls.
In the previous cabinet, the 87-year-old Mr Lee held the influential post of minister mentor, while Mr Goh was senior minister. Although the ruling party won 81 of the 87 elected seats at stake, the opposition managed to break the PAP's stranglehold on power by scoring its best performance ever.
The opposition faces tough restrictions on political activity but six small parties took advantage of the election campaign to demand reforms and greater accountability.