Chief executive contender Carrie Lam has said the political reform process will inevitably bring conflicts to society.

The former chief secretary was visiting a local restaurant in Ap Lei Chau when she was asked by reporters about the issue, Now TV reported.

Lam was the main official pushing forward the government’s political reform package in 2015. She said the process, which began in 2013 with public consultations, involved a lot of energy from the principal officials.

Carrie Lam. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

The controversial package, which followed Beijing’s decision in 2014 which stated that a nomination committee must vet chief executive candidates, divided Hong Kong society.

“The political reform work involved a lot of energy of the principal officials, and will inevitably bring conflicts to society,” she said.

Time for respite 

John Tsang, the former financial chief and now another chief executive contender, said some respite is now needed to rebuild trust. He said the political reform process should not be restarted until there is an appropriate environment.

Without naming Tsang, Lam told reporters: “If someone said respite is needed – this statement needs to be handled carefully.”

Photo: Facebook/John Tsang.

Lam said she felt it was unfortunate that the political reform package in 2015 was not passed. She added that she wished to handle constitutional development, especially universal suffrage for the chief executive, but it depended on whether there were appropriate conditions in society.

She also said she agreed that a popular mandate could help with governing, thus she hoped to win wide support.

On a Commercial Radio programme, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said that taking “respite” meant doing nothing.

Central Government Offices. Photo: HKFP/Tom Grundy.

Other chief executive candidates include Regina Ip and Woo Kwok-hing. The small-circle elections takes place in March.

Lam was the official with the highest approval rating when she was appointed as chief secretary in 2012, but her rating has since dropped following controversies, namely the political reform process and the Hong Kong Palace Museum row.

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.