Former financial secretary John Tsang said he has made a “thoughtful and detailed consideration” on whether he will join the chief executive race and his decision will be announced in a press conference in the coming days.
Tsang tendered his resignation on December 12 last year and it was approved on Monday. In a statement, he thanked the central government for approving his resignation.
“I sincerely thank the central government for its trust, encouragement and support for me throughout this time, so that I can serve Hong Kong society and Hong Kong people in different roles, and make contributions to the long term development of Hong Kong and the country,” he said.
“During my leave, I have made a thoughtful and detailed consideration on joining the 2017 chief executive election. I will hold a press conference in the coming days to announce my decision.”
He said the details of the press conference will come later.
The resignation tendered by former chief secretary Carrie Lam last Thursday was approved on Monday, at the same time as Tsang’s.
Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po has replaced Tsang to become the financial secretary. Acting Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung replaced Lam.
Paul Chan said in a statement “It is my great privilege to be able to continue to serve the people of Hong Kong in the position of Financial Secretary.”
“I fully understand the huge responsibilities of the Financial Secretary, and the challenging tasks ahead of me. I shall be doing my utmost to discharge my duties faithfully, working closely with my team to give our best in our various areas of work,” he said.
He said his first priority is to prepare the annual budget to be announced next month.
“As Financial Secretary, I shall also strive to achieve a fiscal balance, to dedicate public resources flexibly in launching various government projects and public services that suit the needs of the community,” he said.
Matthew Cheung, meanwhile, said the position was a “highly challenging and important mission” for him.
“As the Chief Secretary, I will accord top priority in the remaining tenure of the current-term Government to follow up on and implement the various key social, livelihood and economic initiatives, especially retirement protection, to be announced shortly by the Chief Executive in his forthcoming Policy Address,” he said.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will give his last policy address at the Legislative Council on Wednesday.
Cheung said he will steer the government’s work in organising celebratory activities for the 20th anniversary of the handover, “with the aim of enabling all Hong Kong people to share the joy of the 20th anniversary.”
He also said he will play an active part in helping the Chief Executive ensure an effective administration and a smooth transition from the current administration to the next term.
Chan and Cheung will complete their terms on July 1 this year.
Lawmaker Regina Ip, who has announced her wish to run in the race, said she welcomed the approval of Tsang and Lam’s resignations.
“I welcome a competitive election. I hope all candidates, through explaining their platform and policy ideas, will let Hong Kong have a fair, open and just chief executive election,” she said in a statement.