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Tuesday, January 17, 2017, 00:08

Carrie Lam officially joins CE race

By Joseph Li
Carrie Lam officially joins CE race
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor meets the press on Monday to announce she will join the Chief Executive election. This was after her resignation as chief secretary for administration was accepted by the central government. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Monday announced her plan to run in the Chief Executive election after the central government accepted her resignation as chief secretary for administration .

Lam is the third prominent person to confirm they will participate in the CE race. She follows retired judge Woo Kwok-hing and New People’s Party Chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee .

Read more: Rita Fan: Lam has the right qualities to be CE

On Monday the central government also accepted the resignation of John Tsang Chun-wah as financial secretary.

In a speech during a press conference on Monday, Lam said: “I will run in the CE election because I love the city and care about the wellbeing of the 7 million plus citizens. I am willing to continue to lead the 170,000 civil servants and to serve Hong Kong people.”

Lam said successful government policies — such as housing, poverty alleviation, services for elderly people — should continue.

If elected, she would also continue measures to find more sites to build subsidized housing units and help homebuyers.

She would encourage innovation and technology, and cultural and creative industries, which would help create job opportunities for young people. She also promised to assist young people to run their own startups.

Lam admitted her announcement to run in the CE Election came a bit late. She explained she had to reconsider running after Leung Chun-ying decided not to stand for a second term.

It is impossible to tackle social problems without stirring controversy... The only way to avoid controversy is to do nothing. But that is not my style

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, former chief secretary for administration and Chief Executive election contender

She also needed to finish important work before she could resign and run. She vowed to approach both the Election Committee (EC) members and the public to get their opinions before publishing her policy platforms on Feb 3.

“I will not only approach the EC members but also people from different sectors of society to enhance public engagement, the rule of law, a more inclusive society and policy transparency,” she said.

“Without the support of the citizens, public governance will struggle,” added the former chief secretary.

Lam said she knew the other contenders in the CE race. She hopes the election will be fair, and participants can present their election manifestos, policy objectives and past performances.

Lam was dismayed by some criticism of her by the “pan-democrats”, but stressed that she plans to communicate with people from different political parties. She added that a new government should have new people in its cabinet.

Responding to queries about her handling of the miniature Palace Museum project, Lam said controversy was inevitable because different stakeholders have different interests.

Read more: Next CE must love nation, Hong Kong

“The only way to avoid controversy is to do nothing. But that is not my style,” she remarked.

Meeting the press with her was Executive Councilor Bernard Chan. He will become head of her campaign office.

Chan, who has known Lam for nearly 20 years, praised her as a competent, committed person. He said she is capable of doing her job well as CE, as well as reuniting people and safeguarding the city’s values.

Chan also defended Lam from the criticism that she favors welfare policies. “Many people in the business community back her to run in the CE election, while those who criticize her cannot represent the whole business community,” said Chan.

Lam regrets that people do not have the chance to choose the CE by “one person, one vote” this year because the opposition members of the Legislative Council vetoed the

government’s electoral reform proposal in 2015.

Discussing whether the next government should introduce another round of electoral reform, Lam said people want to focus on economic development and the livelihoods.

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