'Shameful farce' spurs Regina Ip to run
Lawmaker and former security secretary Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee last night announced her intention to run for chief executive - a race she said had turned into a 'shameful farce' - despite admitting she had yet to secure the necessary number of nominations.
The chairwoman of the New People's Party said late last year that she would not be in the running, but changed her mind after witnessing the integrity crises involving front runners Henry Tang Ying-yen and Leung Chun-ying over illegal structures and a conflict-of-interest row respectively.
'It is sad to see the election being turned into a shameful farce as Tang goes against popular opinion,' said Ip, referring to the former chief secretary's signing up as an official candidate yesterday despite growing pressure for him to withdraw.
'I want to offer myself as a choice to Hong Kong people and the Election Committee members,' Ip said.
Ip admitted she did not have a lot of nominations. 'For tactical reasons I cannot disclose the exact number I have secured,' she said. 'But I appeal to all Election Committee members who have lost faith in the two and originally decided not to nominate anyone, to support me.
'Some Election Committee members said they would nominate me after the recent scandals.'
Ip said: 'I will fight until the last second before the nominations close on February 29.'
She said she had informed the central government's liaison office about her bid.
With Legislative Council president Tsang Yok-sing also expressing an interest in running, Ip said a race between her and Tsang would be 'a contest between a gentleman and a lady'.
'I do not have any integrity issues and I have the experience of serving the government for 30 years as well as running in direct elections,' Ip said.
While the former government minister's handling of the proposed national security legislation in 2003 triggered huge public opposition, Ip said the issue did not constitute baggage for her. 'I fought an uphill battle and I carried out the whole process faithfully. If I win the election the legislation of Basic Law's Article 23 would not be a priority for me.
The number of nominations needed for a candidate to enter the race for chief executive. Nominations close on February 29