June 28, 2022

Herald of Fashion

Complete US News World

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said she will not seek a second term

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said she will not seek a second term

HONG KONG (Reuters) – The leader of embattled Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, who has ruled the global financial center through the unprecedented turmoil of anti-government protests and COVID-19, said on Monday she would not seek a second five-year term. from the office.

Lam’s announcement came as media said Prime Minister John Lee, Hong Kong’s second-highest official, is set to resign to join the race to replace Lam in May as the new leader of the Chinese-ruled city.

“There is only one consideration and that is family. I have told everyone before that this family is my number one priority,” Lam told a regular press briefing.

Register now to get free unlimited access to Reuters.com

“They think it’s time to go home.”

She declined to comment on potential candidates to replace her and said she had not yet decided on her future plans.

Born in British-ruled Hong Kong in 1957 and a lifelong civil servant who describes herself as a devout Catholic, Lam took office in 2017 pledging to unite a city that was increasingly resentful of Beijing’s hard-line grip.

Two years later, millions of democracy supporters took to the streets in sometimes violent anti-government protests. The unrest led Beijing to impose a sweeping national security law in June 2020, giving it more power than ever to shape life in Hong Kong.

An angry Lam said at the height of the unrest in 2019 that if she had the option to resign, adding in remarks to a group of businessmen that the chief executive “must serve two masters under the constitution, the Central People’s Government. And the people of Hong Kong.”

See also  Centrists of President Macron maintain majority: expectations | Election News

“The political space for maneuvering is very, very, very limited,” she added, according to an audio recording of her comments obtained by Reuters.

Lam said on Monday she had proposed restructuring the government over mainland authorities to include new policy departments, but it would be up to the next city leader to decide whether to go ahead with the plan.

The city’s leaders are chosen by a small electoral commission stacked with Beijing loyalists, so whoever becomes the next leader of the former British colony will do so with Beijing’s tacit approval.

Li, 64, a security official during the protracted and often violent 2019 pro-democracy protests, was promoted in 2021 in a move that some analysts said signaled Beijing’s renewed focus on security rather than the economy.

Lee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Other potential contenders mentioned in the media include the city’s financial secretary, Paul Chan, as well as former leader Leung Chun-ying. Nobody has yet to try.

Hong Kong returned from British rule to China in 1997 with extensive freedoms, including an independent judiciary and the right to public assembly, guaranteed for at least 50 years.

The United States sanctioned both Lam and Lee, among other officials, in 2020, saying they had undermined Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy from Beijing and curtailed political freedoms through a national security law that punishes crimes such as subversion and secession with life imprisonment.

Chinese and Hong Kong authorities deny that individual rights are being eroded and say security law is necessary to restore the stability necessary for economic success after protracted turmoil.

See also  Israeli leader Naftali Bennett meets his Bahraini counterpart and signals a regional shift

Leadership elections have been postponed from March to May 8 to give the government time to fight the COVID outbreak that has infected more than 1 million of the city’s 7.4 million people. Lam’s term ends on June 30.

Since Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule, it has had four chief executives, all of whom have struggled to balance the democratic and liberal aspirations of many residents with the vision of the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.

Register now to get free unlimited access to Reuters.com

Additional reporting by Jesse Bang, James Pomfret and Tweeny Siew; Written by Anne Marie Rowntree; Editing by Robert Persell

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.