Goh Chok Tong was officially appointed Tuesday as Singapore's second prime minister in more than three decades and vowed to use "every ounce of energy" to carry on the legacy left by his predecessor, Lee Kuan Yew.
President Wee Kim Wee formally appointed Goh and invited him to form a new government the day after Lee submitted his resignation after 31 years at the helm.With Lee recommending that Goh, his first deputy prime minister, replace him in the No. 1 job, Wee concurred and said Goh "was the person able to command the confidence of the majority in Parliament," where the ruling People's Action Party holds 80 of the 81 seats.
Wee said he was confident the 49-year-old Goh, a member of Lee's cabinet for 13 years, "will acquit himself with distinction and ensure Singapore's continuity and stability."
Goh, who is retaining the defense minister's position, handed Wee a list containing the names of his cabinet members. In the lineup were Lee, who becomes senior minister, and Lee's son, former Trade and Industry Minister Lee Hsien Loong, elevated to deputy prime minister and considered a certain successor to Goh.
"The weight of responsibility has been passed onto my shoulders, and it is a very heavy one," said Goh, in accepting the appointment.
"I will use every ounce of energy" to build on the foundations established by Lee, he said.
Goh and his colleagues will be sworn in Wednesday, the culmination of Lee's longstanding plan to transfer the leadership to a hand-picked second generation and bring to an end his tenure as the world's longest-serving, democratically elected head of government.