After nearly five tumultuous years as Hong Kong’s chief executive, CY Leung has announced that he will not be seeking re-election for a second term of office in March.
At a press briefing earlier today, the 62-year-old official said that he would not be running out of consideration for his own family.
“It was my own decision. As a husband, as a father, I have a responsibility to take care of my family,” Leung said, according to HKFP. “My daughter only has one father, my wife only has one husband.”
“If I run my family will suffer an intolerable stress due to my electioneering,” he added, according to SCMP.
Leung’s daughter, Chai-yan, is rumored to currently be receiving treatment at Price of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin. Leung visited the hospital on Thursday night, Apple Daily reported.
In recent weeks, there had been increasing speculation about whether Leung would be seeking a second term as chief executive. However, Leung steadfastly refused to answer questions about his plans.
From the 2014 Occupy protests to the missing bookseller saga to the most recent oath-taking controversy, Leung has presided over the most tumultuous period in Hong Kong’s history since the city returned to Chinese rule. During Leung’s term in office, many Hongkongers felt that their freedoms under the “one country, two systems” framework was being eroded away by constant interference from Beijing. Meanwhile, many believed that Beijing was upset with Leung for not doing enough to curtail the pro-independence movement.
The perception that Leung cared more about pleasing his own bosses in Beijing than the Hong Kong people turned him into a highly unpopular leader. A recent poll conducted by Hong Kong’s Democratic Party found that nearly 70% of Hongkongers opposed his reelection as chief executive. According to HKFP:
Of those who said they would not support a second term for Leung:
33 per cent said the reason was that he had failed to win support from Hong Kong people;
17 per cent said Leung provoked conflict in society;
14 per cent said Leung’s integrity was questionable;
12 per cent said he did not fulfil his election promises;
24 per cent said it was all of the reasons mentioned.
Hong Kong’s next chief executive will be chosen from a list of pre-vetted candidates by a 1,200-member chief executive election committee, composed of mostly pro-Beijing and pro-business members. With Leung out of the picture, pro-establishment lawmaker Regina Ip is the odds on favorite to become the city’s next chief executive. She is expected to announce her candidacy next Thursday.
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