Former lawmaker Kaizer Lau Ping-cheung has hinted that his friend Leung Chun-ying will seek a second term in office as Hong Kong’s chief executive.
Lau, a long-time supporter of Leung, has passed on word to the media that the chief executive will seek re-election in 2017 as long as Beijing doesn’t stop him, Apple Daily reported Thursday.
“Unless Beijing disapproves, the Leung Chun-ying that I know will definitely try to run for a second term,” Lau was quoted as saying during a gathering Tuesday with media personnel.
Lau, who has known Leung since boyhood, defended the chief executive several times during the media gathering, according to the report.
Despite the criticism over Leung’s performance record since he took office in 2012, an objective assessment shows that the leader has delivered results on housing policies and poverty alleviation, Lau said, adding that Leung is qualified to seek the top job again.
However, he admitted that Leung’s low popularity as well as his perceived close ties with the Communist Party could pose some problems if he were to seek a fresh term.
Lau stressed that Leung has done his job well and that his record would have been even better had it not been for unforeseeable activities, such as filibustering at the Legislative Council, by opposition groups.
He pointed out that the Long Term Housing Strategy Steering Committee has already identified land plots to build 460,000 housing units, which is close to the original target of delivering 480,000 units.
Leung has achieved at least 90 percent, if not 100 percent, on his promise to fulfill housing needs for Hong Kong people, said Lau, who had served as a functional constituency lawmaker between 2000 and 2004.
Public impressions on Leung are entirely subjective, he said, adding the chief executive’s hard work should not be ignored.
That said, he admitted that Leung won’t be able to recover the lost ground when it comes to his approval ratings.
Insisting that Leung’s capabilities are second to none, Lau urged the public to consider this question: “Will all the problems facing Hong Kong simply vanish by ejecting Leung from the top job?”
In other comments, Lau said that Leung could be made a scapegoat if the pro-establishment camp suffers a major defeat at the Legislative Council election in September.
Following Lau’s reported remarks, Chinese University political scholar Ivan Choy Chi-kung told Ming Pao Daily that the comments can be interpreted as an indirect announcement of the start of Leung’s campaign for a second term.
Lau’s defense of Leung was on predictable lines, Choy said, noting that Lau has not offered any explanations as to why society has become torn apart during Leung’s tenure.
Lau has repeatedly stressed that Leung has made adjustments on his policies, which suggests that it could more of a tactical approach for his campaign, Choy said.
The remarks will only remind people of what happened four years ago, when Leung made lofty promises during the election campaign but showed his true self after he secured the job, he said.
Meanwhile, Choy also pointed out that Lau himself is not sure if Leung will have Beijing’s blessings for a fresh term.
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