Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has said she may reconsider whether to run for the chief executive position, now that her boss Leung Chun-ying has decided not to seek re-election.

Lam at a press conference on Saturday. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

Leung said on Friday that he has decided not enter the leadership race next March as his family may face unbearable pressure owing to his campaign. Lam said on Saturday that she knew of the decision on Thursday when Leung told her, and she was surprised. But she understood and respected the decision.

Lam said she and Leung were “closest partners” in the past four years. “In these few years of working together, I feel society was not very fair to him,” she said. “I can tell you that this development is very huge – I must reconsider my situation. But, at this moment,  I have not made any decisions, I can state clearly at this moment I have not made any preparation for the race of next chief executive.”

‘Hong Kong’s interests’

Lam said that she has stated she wished to retire, since she will have served the government for 37 years and will reach retirement age next July when her term ends.

“I know saying I will reconsider today will spark criticism that I take back my promise, or that my previous statement was a case of retreat for the sake of advancing – but I am afraid the problems in front of me are not about my personal reputation, but Hong Kong’s interests as a whole,” she said.

Carrie Lam. Photo: GovHK.

She said she will announce her decision as soon as possible, and that she has three factors to consider.

“Whether it is beneficial to the continuous successful implementation of ‘One Country, Two Systems,’ ‘Hong Kong people ruling Hong Kong,’ ‘High degree of autonomy’,” she said. “Secondly, whether it will continue the chief executive [Leung]’s ideals of governance – governing with reason and seeking change amid stability – and carrying on with the policies issued in the incumbent administration.”

“Thirdly it is of course receiving my family’s support and understanding.”

Lam did not take any questions from reporters.

Lawmaker Regina Ip is expected to announce her candidacy next Thursday. Retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, the only open contender, said he will complete his election platform next Wednesday.

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Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.