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Saturday, December 10, 2016, 18:48

Carrie Lam reconsiders run for CE

By Willa Wu

Carrie Lam reconsiders run for CE
Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor delivers a speech during the launching ceremony of the Appreciate Hong Kong campaign at the Central Government Offices, Hong Kong, Nov 1 6, 2016. (Parker Zheng/China Dail y)

HONG KONG - Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Saturday that dramatic changes in circumstances have prompted her to reconsider the possibility of her running for the city’s top job.

Her remarks came after a sudden announcement a day earlier by incumbent Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying that he would not be seeking reelection due to family reasons.

Addressing reporters, Lam said she has yet to decide whether she will stand as a candidate in the 2017 chief executive election, nor had she made prior preparations. She will give it careful consideration and will announce her intention if she comes to a decision.

Lam said she has yet to decide whether she will stand as a candidate in the 2017 chief executive election, nor had she made prior preparations

Lam clarified that she will have to consider whether her taking up the top job will benefit the successful implementation of the " O ne Country, Two Systems " policy, "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy.

She will also consider whether she can continue the current government’s policies and carry on Leung's "seek change and maintain stability" principle.

Moreover, she will consider if her family will give support and understanding to her bid for the top post. But the well-being of Hong Kong, rather than personal reputation, is her key consideration, Lam added.

Lam expressed understanding and respect of Leung’s decision of not seeking a second term for family reasons.

In the city’s current situation, one’s aspiration to serve the Hong Kong community can be at odds with one’s responsibility to take care of their family, Lam said. The dilemma makes it a difficult choice for people with political ambitions to decide to run for public office to serve the community, and the society should reflect on this problem, Lam added.

Leung said on Friday that he would not seek reelection as the next chief executive in 2017 due to family reasons.

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 told reporters that his decision not to seek a second term in office was understood by the central government. Having served as the city’s leader since 2012, he stressed that central government authorities have been very supportive of his work over the years.

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.

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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