Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he will hand over power to his deputy Lawrence Wong before the country’s next general election, and signaled the transition could come as early as 2024.

"I have full confidence in Lawrence and his team and there’s no reason to delay the political transition,” Lee, 71, said during the ruling party’s convention on Sunday. "Therefore, I intend to hand over to DPM Lawrence before the next general election.”

Lee has been leader for almost two decades and the People’s Action Party has long telegraphed a power transition. An earlier wish by Lee to hand over the reins before he turned 70 was disrupted by COVID-19 and a shock decision by then-designated successor Heng Swee Keat to step aside in April 2021.