Who will be the next CE?

January 19, 2022 12:24
Photo: Reuters

Who will grab the top job to lead Hong Kong past the 25th anniversary of its return to China?

All eyes will be on the possible candidates including incumbent Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, her predecessor Leung Chun-ying, and Financial Secretary Paul Chan.

Or is it the wildcard Margaret Chan Fung Fu-chun who might join the race at age of 74 despite laying low in the past five years?

It is not usual for Beijing to keep quiet about her favorite candidate even two months before the Chief Executive election. But it is quite likely the answer will be known soon after a local report suggested that Beijing would make a decision on Thursday on the next leader of Hong Kong.

Anyone with 188 nominations from the election committee is allowed to join the race. Judging from past experience, the first one to declare his or her participation in the election might not be Beijing’s preferred choice.

As such, not many are serious about the news that Checkley Sin Kwok-lam, former chairman of listed First Credit Finance Group and a Kung Fu master, announced to join the election this morning.

Sin is believed to have reached out to some election committee members for nominations but they thought Sin, with no political and a so-so business track record, is more like making movies, his other business. Still, he has been a vocal figure among the blue camp with over 100,000 YouTube subscribers.

None of the above potential candidates really stand out.
Carrie Lam has all the incumbent advantage, including the trust by President Xi Jinping, who asked her for winter solstice dinner last year along with Macao Chief Executive Ho Lat-seng.

However, she is perhaps better suited to be a Chief Secretary than Chief Executive, measured by how she handled important crises since 2019 such as the social movement and the pandemic. Many doubted if she had done a good job.

Somewhat against her chance of winning, she sent numerous election committee members to Penny’s Bay quarantine centre after the infamous birthday party early this year.

CY Leung is no better. Despite his efforts in social media, most people would simply want to forget the bad old days under his reign.

Whether Margaret Chan, who is seldom under the spotlight after her 11 years of service at World Health Organisation that ended in 2017, is a good choice is anybody’s guess.

With no one standing out, perhaps one should really look at who the lesser evil is. Given this special circumstance, some argue that Lam should be given a second chance to serve five more years because she still has a lot left to finish. All hopes that she will be able to correct her mistakes and do something really good for Hong Kong.

But the question still remains- who can guarantee a better five years ahead?

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EJ Insight writer