Jasper Tsang denies claims over interest in Hong Kong chief executive role
Retiring Legco president says he did not know that John Tsang would make similar comments about job the same day
Retiring Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing yesterday denied timing his announcement that he was willing to stand for chief executive with that of the financial secretary.
Tsang also refuted claims his move was aimed at helping the pro-establishment camp in next month’s Legco elections.
Both he and John Tsang Chun-wah made it clear on Friday that they were prepared to join the chief executive race.
Jasper Tsang made his announcement on the RTHK English website just before the financial secretary told Commercial Radio he was willing to take up the post, now held by Leung Chun-ying, “if it contributes to Hong Kong”.
Addressing the media yesterday, Tsang denied coordinating the announcements, saying they were pre-recorded.
“I finished the RTHK interview early last week ... and John Tsang’s interview was conducted a long time ago and I didn’t know what he said.”
He did not rule out helping John Tsang should the minister decide to run, but saw winning the trust of Beijing and the traditional leftists as his biggest challenge.
Political analysts said the comments of the two men would take some pressure off Beijing loyalists who had struggled to express support for Leung for a second term.
Tsang said this was not his intention, but it emerged as a way out for pro-establishment candidates at forums yesterday.
Speaking on RTHK, Starry Lee Wai-king and Holden Chow Ho-ding, from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said they would support Jasper Tsang as he co-founded the DAB.
Lee and Chow are contesting five “super seats” to be elected by 3.5 million voters citywide.
On Commercial Radio, four out of 16 Hong Kong Island candidates – running independently or topping their party’s list – also said they would support Jasper Tsang.
They included Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan of the DAB, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee of the New People’s Party and Ricky Wong Wai-kay, independent candidate and founder of HKTV.
She declined to comment on Leung’s performance because she is also an executive councillor.
Gary Wong Chi-him of the Path of Democracy, said he would consider either of the Tsangs, but feared the outgoing Legco president would casually appoint those from the DAB to his cabinet. Alice Lai Yee-man from the newly founded Conservative Party, which lobbies for the resumption of British sovereignty over Hong Kong, and district councillor Andy Chui Chi-kin, said they would back John Tsang.
Most of the hopefuls, including district councillor Paul Zimmerman and Ted Hui Chi-fung of the Democratic Party, said they would not pick any of the three, saying they did not support a “small-circle election”.