Singapore to change prime ministers for first time in 20 years

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong says he will hand over his post to Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong by autumn of next year.

It will be the first change in prime minister in 20 years for the Southeast Asian country.

Lee said at an annual conference of the People's Action Party on Sunday, "I intend to hand over to DPM Lawrence before the next general election." The party has dominated the country's politics in de facto one-party rule since independence.

He added, "If all goes well, I will hand over by PAP's 70th birthday next year," which will take place next November.

Lee, 71, is the eldest son of Singapore's first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. He became the country's third prime minister in 2004 and has overseen its growth into one of Asia's largest economies.

He had already decided to transfer power to Wong but had not previously disclosed the timing.

Wong, 50, also serves as finance minister. Attention is focused on how he will steer the country. Singapore has developed into one of the world's leading financial centers by attracting investment from around the world.