Date
22 March 2017
Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said he would only run to bring “genuine competition” to the 2017 election. Photo: RTHK
Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said he would only run to bring “genuine competition” to the 2017 election. Photo: RTHK

Legco president said he’d run for chief executive if needed

The outgoing Legislative Council president, Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, said he may run for Hong Kong’s top post next year if no electable candidate comes forward to challenge an expected re-election bid by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, public broadcaster RTHK reports.

This is the first time that Tsang has said he is considering running for chief executive.

Many political pundits have regularly mentioned him as a possible candidate, but he had previously said he would not run in 2017.

In an exclusive interview with RTHK’s The Pulse program, Tsang said Leung is expected to seek a second five-year term, and despite widespread speculation that Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor or Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah may run, neither of them has indicated that they will challenge their boss.

“If no one else really wants to run, and if it turns out that it is both necessary and possible for me to stand as a candidate to offer a genuine choice – at least to the election committee – then I will consider running,” Tsang told The Pulse’s Steve Vines.

Tsang stressed that he would only run to bring “genuine competition” to the 2017 election, and he hopes that “in due course, others much better qualified, much better than I am, would come out”.

Tsang, who turns 70 next May, said he may have grown “too old” to address what he described as his shortcomings.

“I genuinely believe that you need some knowledge in running the government, in economic and financial affairs, to be a competent chief executive,” Tsang said. “If I had been 10 years younger, I would really seriously consider…” he said.

Seventy is a good age to run the United States, he joked, but not Hong Kong.

In the interview, Tsang appeared reluctant to criticize the incumbent chief executive.

Asked if CY Leung is exacerbating polarization in society and making bad things happen, Tsang answered with a bemused smile, “Maybe.”

On whether Leung isn’t a good leader, Tsang said, “But he was chosen to be the leader. Within that system, it was a consequence.”

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AC/CG

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