Former financial secretary Antony Leung is praising John Tsang as a suitable choice for Hong Kong’s next chief executive.
Leung said his predecessor is the one person “most capable of uniting Hong Kong”, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
He said he has high expectations of Tsang as someone who can bridge the gap in Hong Kong society.
The present administration “has done a lot” but its efforts have been in vain because its governance style has created a polarized populace, Leung said.
Leung, who was finance minister from 2001 to 2003, stopped short of endorsing Tsang.
And his remarks did little to stem speculation he might run in next year’s election.
Tsang had no immediate response.
The next chief executive should be able to faithfully implement “one country, two systems”, develop the economy and improve people’s way of life, Leung said.
He refused to be drawn when asked if Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying or Tsang is the person for that job.
New People’s Party leader Regina Ip, who is widely seen as a possible candidate, declined to say if she fits the bill, adding it’s Leung’s prerogative to choose whom he wants to support.
Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said Leung’s remarks can help boost Tsang’s popularity but added Beijing is in no rush to decide on the matter.
Ivan Choy, a senior lecturer in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said Leung might have been speaking for business interests, not only for himself.
He said the race will come down to Leung, Tsang and Chief Secretary Carrie Lam.
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