15 May 2011

Lee Kuan Yew retiring from Cabinet at 87

1:45 pm on 15 May 2011

Singapore's founding father and first prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew, has announced he is retiring from the Cabinet.

He says he will give up his post as Minister Mentor, an advisory role specifically established for him in 2004.

The move comes after Mr Lee's People's Action Party (PAP) recorded its worst election result since 1965.

Mr Lee, 87, and fellow former prime minister Goh Chok Tong said in a joint resignation statement that the "time has come for a younger generation".

Mr Lee was prime minister from 1959 to 1990, after which Mr Goh took over until 2004. The country is currently led by Mr Lee's son, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Key moment in political history

The BBC's Southeast Asia correspondent says Mr Lee has designed, driven, and dominated Singapore's development for more than 50 years, and his retirement is unquestionably a key moment in the country's political history.

In the latest elections the PAP won only 60% of the vote - down from 67% in 2006 and 75% in 2001. The Workers' Party won six seats, the most the opposition has held since independence in 1965.

Singapore is one of the world's richest countries, but soaring housing prices amid a surge of foreign workers have left poorer islanders struggling.