Chief Executive Election

John Tsang thanks supporters after losing Hong Kong top job race and hints at ‘trick moves’

Former finance chief urges city to adopt ‘inclusive’ approach next five years

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 March, 2017, 6:28pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 26 March, 2017, 6:32pm

Stopping short of blaming his defeat on Beijing’s involvement, Hong Kong’s second-place finisher in the city’s leadership election likened the contest to a football match in which “trick moves” had been employed.

Former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, who led public opinion polling before the election on Sunday, secured 365 votes, losing to former chief secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who won 777 votes.

He asked Hongkongers not to “lose faith” in their city and urged them to approach the next five years in an “inclusive” manner.

Tsang thanked his supporters for “dreaming together to make Hong Kong more democratic” and urged them not to stop “dreaming until their dream comes true”.

The long-time public servant also called on his supporters and the city’s civil servants to lend their support to Lam.

He said he respected the “decision of all the Election Committee members” and had “no reason to believe” the outcome stemmed from Beijing’s involvement. Lam was widely known to be backed by the central government.

Even if a team has played very well ... it did not guarantee victory in the end
John Tsang

Tsang said he appreciated the 365 committee members who had stood by him and the values he stood for “in the face of immense pressure”.

But, likening the election to a football match, he said: “The reality is, even if a team has played very well with considerable support from fans and kept scoring, it did not guarantee victory in the end.”

He added: “There are trick moves in all matches.”

Tsang fought back tears as he described how the campaign experience had made him a better person. He said he was deeply touched by some supporters who had travelled long distances to meet him during his district visits and by their messages on his Facebook page.

In addressing Lam’s victory, he said: “I believe that Carrie, like myself, will stand for the core values of Hong Kong. I wish to call upon all of you to lend her your full support so that she and her administration will be able to bring about a more harmonious future for a better Hong Kong.”

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But he warned it would be difficult for Lam to govern if she could not gain the support of groups from across the political spectrum.

“The next five years will not be easy,” he said. “One needs to work very hard to get society’s support ... as Hongkongers, we should support [Lam] and encourage her to do better in the next five years.”

Asked about his next move, Tsang said it was premature to think about it, adding he would take the next few days to rest.