Financial Secretary John Tsang is expected to announce his decision on whether to run for Hong Kong chief executive anytime soon after he tendered his resignation from the government, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
At a press conference several hours after he resigned from a position he had held for nine and half years, Tsang said that running for chief executive is a serious question.
“I will make a responsible decision and notify everyone as soon as possible,” he said.
In a seven-minute statement, which was given in Cantonese and English, Tsang expressed his appreciation to the central government in Beijing for giving him the opportunity to contribute to the nation’s long-term development as well as to the SAR government for its support.
While calling Hong Kong public servants “neutral, highly efficient and excellent”, Tsang said it has been getting harder for the government to do its work due to changes in the social environment but added that government efforts will not be in vain.
Tsang left the press conference without taking questions from the media.
Tsang’s resignation was widely interpreted as a move to pave the way for him to compete.
A source said Tsang will announce his decision after the formalities of his resignation are completed.
Tsang, who has been leading in opinion polls among potential candidates, also said that his political assistant, Julian Law, resigned with him.
He did not say whether Law will be part of his campaign team if he decides to run.
Tsang will go on leave from Tuesday. Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Ceajer Chan will be the acting financial secretary, according to a statement issued by the government.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam said any resignation by a key official will not affect the operations of the government.
Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said Tsang is likely to have garnered support from locals, the commercial sector and the elites that is sufficient to prompt him to quit in preparation for the race.
Lau said the next step for Tsang is to show Beijing he is an acceptable candidate by winning support from the pro-establishment camp.
Other potential candidates such Chief Secretary Carrie Lam are expected to announce their decisions in the next one or two weeks, Lau said.
Ivan Choy, a senior lecturer in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said Tsang’s resignation does not necessarily give him the upper hand but he added Tsang should make it as one of the candidates chosen by the Election Committee.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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