Tamil-origin economist Tharman Shanmugaratnam, a former member of Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party, won the country’s presidential election by a landslide on Friday.

Shanmugaratnam, who served in key roles within the People’s Action Party for over two decades, bagged 70.4% of the votes, Reuters reported. The two other contenders – Ng Kok Song and Tan Kin Lian – got 15.7% and 13.9% votes respectively.

The presidential role in Singapore is largely ceremonial. However, the president is supposed to be politically neutral and has powers to ensure checks and balances on the government.

Shanmugaratnam will hold the president’s post for the next six years.

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong on Friday said that Shanmugaratnam has a long and distinguished record of public service, and expressed confidence that he would carry out his duties as the president with distinction.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Shanmugaratnam on his victory in the presidential election. “I look forward to working closely with you to further strengthen the India-Singapore Strategic Partnership,” he said.

Shanmugaratnam entered active politics in 2001 and served as Singapore’s deputy prime minister between 2011 and 2019.

He chaired the International Monetary and Financial Committee, and the policy advisory committee of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 2011 to 2014.

Correction: An earlier version of this article identified Shanmugaratnam as a person of Indian origin.