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Saturday, December 10, 2016, 10:23

Leung won't seek 2nd term

By Luis Liu in Hong Kong

Leung won't seek 2nd term
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying meets the press in Hong Kong on Dec 9, 2016. (Parker Zheng/China Daily)

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Friday that he will not seek reelection as the next chief executive in 2017 due to family reasons.

Leung told reporters that his decision not to seek a second term in office was understood by the central government.

Leung said he has to balance the responsibilities he owes the Hong Kong community with those he holds for his family

Having served as the city’s leader since 2012, Leung stressed that central government authorities have been very supportive of his work over the years.

The chief executive said he has to balance the responsibilities he owes the Hong Kong community with those he holds for his family, adding he must prevent his family from facing unbearable pressures that would result from electioneering if he ran for a second term in March 2017.

Leung said he will focus on his work as chief executive in the coming six months, including delivering his last policy address. Leung said the government’s annual work plan for 2017 will include mid-term and long-term policies that are of great importance to Hong Kong’s social and economic development.

He thanked those who gave him support to run for a second term, adding he will “support whoever wins the election and whoever is being capable of being appointed by the Central People’s Government” as the next chief executive.

In a statement that followed, Beijing’s top Hong Kong affairs authority – the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council – said it respected Leung’s decision.

A spokesperson said the office expressed deep regret and recognized Leung’s work as chief executive of the special administrative region and his firm implementation of the “ One Country, Two Systems ” policy and the Basic Law.

The spokesman also spoke highly of Leung’s efforts in improving Hong Kong’s economy and people’s quality of living, hoping that Leung will continue his good work in the rest of his term and facilitate the development of both Hong Kong and the country in the future.

In another statement, the central government’s liaison office in the Hong Kong SAR also said it respected Leung’s decision. It recognized his work especially during the 79-day illegal “Occupy Central” movement, the SAR government’s efforts to promote the electoral reform, and to combat pro-independence activities in Hong Kong.

The liaison office praised Leung’s leadership role in the handling of several major political and legal issues, as well as the SAR government’s commitment to safeguarding the country’s sovereignty and national security and upholding the Basic Law.

It also hoped Leung can lead his administration to serve the Hong Kong community in his remaining term and lay a solid foundation for the next chief executive.

Leung assumed office as Hong Kong’s fourth-term chief executive in 2012, succeeding Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. Before taking over the top job, Leung had served as the secretary-general of the then Hong Kong Basic Law Consultative Committee from 1988 to 1990 and as a member of the Executive Council from 1997 to 2011.

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