Lawrence Wong was sworn in as Singapore's fourth prime minister on Wednesday in its first power transition in two decades, succeeding Lee Hsien Loong.

The affluent Southeast Asian country's first prime minister born after its independence in 1965, Wong, 51, said in his inaugural address that "our leadership style will differ from that of previous generations," adding, "We will lead in our own way."

Lawrence Wong. (Kyodo)

Wong, who 72-year-old Lee designated as his successor in 2022, transitioned from a former bureaucrat and Lee's principal private secretary to leading the education, national development and finance ministries and then becoming deputy prime minister.

Lee, the elder son of modern Singapore's founding father Lee Kuan Yew, had led the city-state since August 2004. He will become a senior minister in Wong's Cabinet in a move to ensure the continuity of policies.

Wong will concurrently serve as both prime minister and finance minister.

He has named Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong, who also retains his portfolio, as one of his two deputies, the other being Heng Swee Keat, who had been widely expected to succeed Lee before withdrawing from the race in 2022.

Wong has said other key ministers in the Lee administration will keep their posts in the new Cabinet, with any significant changes in the lineup expected only after a general election to be held by November next year.

The People's Action Party has ruled Singapore since independence.

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