Hong Kong chief executive-elect Carrie Lam ‘working around the clock’ to find ministers

The city’s next leader has flown to Beijing to formally receive her appointment to the top job

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 April, 2017, 3:23pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 09 April, 2017, 10:59pm

With less than three months to go before she becomes Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she had been working around the clock to find ministers for the next administration – a process she once described as a “nightmare”.

Lam, who needs to recruit a team of ministers to swear in by July 1, made the comments at Hong Kong International Airport yesterday before flying to Beijing, where she will receive her formal appointment to the top job from Premier Li Keqiang.

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“I have been elected for two weeks now. I can share with you that I have been working around the clock to contact my preferred candidates. However, I can’t disclose the results today,” she said.

“I hope I can finish formulating my team of ministers for the next administration as soon as possible,” she added.

The chief executive-elect previously joked about the process, saying, “I once had a nightmare that I did not have enough people to swear in on July 1”.

During her four-day stay in Beijing, Lam said she would meet with President Xi Jinping and National People’s Congress chairman Zhang Dejiang. She will also meet with the director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, Wang Guangya, to discuss preparations for the city’s incoming administration.

Asked if she would discuss Hong Kong political reform with Beijing officials, Lam said she would only provide a general report on the city.

She believed there would not be a “concrete” discussion on any specific topic.

On March 26, Lam won 777 votes from the 1,194-member Election Committee, which is composed mostly of Beijing loyalists. Former financial secretary, John Tsang Chun-wah, and retired judge, Woo Kwok-hing, lost with 365 and 21 votes respectively.

Lam was widely seen as Beijing’s preferred candidate while Tsang, despite being popular with the public, was said to have lacked the central government’s trust.

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Environment secretary Wong Kam-sing said he had an “open attitude” towards continuing on past July 1 with the chief executive-elect’s new administration.

“I have known Mrs Lam for quite some time. Back then I was in charge of local affairs in the Hong Kong Institute of Architects. I had contact with Mrs Lam when she was still the development minister. I am happy that she was supportive of a green environment at the time, especially when it comes to green buildings,” Wong said.

“With Mrs Lam as the chief executive in the coming administration, if she could continue to press ahead with green buildings and other areas, many people will be happy about that.”

Permanent secretary for food and health, Patrick Nip Tak-kuen, declined to say if Lam had approached him. He added that Lam needed time and space to find people to join her management team.