Although it might still be a bit too early to discuss the 2022 Chief Executive election, and many believe incumbent leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will be able to secure a second term in the top post, there has been talk recently that Lam’s predecessor, Leung Chun-ying, may be planning a comeback in the next CE race.
Some have even claimed with absolute certainty that Leung recently sought legal advice on the matter, and the conclusion reached was that it is not unconstitutional for him to run again.
In fact some pro-establishment figures have also said it would be hard to imagine that Leung would be willing to settle for the office of the vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) as the final destination of his political career.
That said, although the idea of Leung running for chief executive again in 2022 might seem a bit surprising, the fact that he has recently gone into “Defcon 1″ attack mode against the Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) over the Andy Chan Ho-tin speech controversy, and Leung’s belligerent posturing in relation to the UGL scandal and the “luggage-gate” saga, one could argue that there could be some currency to the rumor about his planned comeback.
Such rumor has even caught the attention of Beijing.
A delegate to the CPPCC national committee who has never been a so-called “Leung fan” and who didn’t nominate him back in the 2012 CE election told us that an official from the Hong Kong and Macao Office of the State Council had asked him about the rumor during a recent casual conversation.
Lam’s popularity ratings in public opinion surveys conducted by two local universities have fallen in the wake of Typhoon Mangkhut, with many people expressing dissatisfaction over the post-disaster arrangements.
It is said that some Leung fans were pretty excited about the news, and interpreted that as a sign of public nostalgia for the “Leung era”.
That leaves us with this question: Are those people reading too much into the recent news, and perhaps building false hopes?
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct 8
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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