Singapore’s designated future leader steps aside, citing age

SINGAPORE (AP) — Singapore’s designated future leader, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat, has taken himself out of the running in a surprise decision, citing his age. The announcement sets back the country’s succession plans after current Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong retires. Lee, 69, had planned to retire at age 70 but has indicated he may stay on until the coronavirus crisis is over. Heng turns 60 this year and said in a letter released Thursday that a younger person with a “longer runway” should be the next prime minister. Heng said the pandemic is likely to be prolonged, and “I would be close to the mid-60s when the crisis is over.”