CHIEF EXECUTIVE RACE

Hong Kong chief executive candidate Regina Ip has second thoughts about joining Executive Council

Regina Ip of New People’s Party initially said she would not join leader’s advisory panel, but says Carrie Lam has now invited her to become a member

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 April, 2017, 11:13pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 April, 2017, 11:13pm

Hong Kong legislative councillor Regina Ip Lau Shuk-yee has backtracked on her election pledge not to join chief executive-elect Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s cabinet, admitting she is having second thoughts.

Ip, who failed to secure enough nominations to enter the chief executive race last month, said on Tuesday the leader-in-waiting had invited her to be an executive councillor.

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“I need to consider whether I could be of any help to the administration and how it would affect the positioning of my party,” Ip said.

“Mrs Lam won a landslide anyway. There’s no basic disagreement between me and her.”

Ip, a minister-turned-lawmaker, initially announced she would run for the top post. But as Lam announced her entry to the race in January, following the surprise retirement of incumbent Leung Chun-ying, Ip struggled to obtain the necessary 150 nominations from the Election Committee to qualify.

There’s no basic disagreement between me and her
Regina Ip, on Carrie Lam

She was believed to have bagged only around 20 nominations, mostly from members of her own party – the New People’s Party.

Before conceding failure, Ip said in an interview in February that she had rejected offers of top appointments to national advisory bodies in exchange for dropping out of the election, likening them to “a consolation prize”.

Ip also said she was not interested in joining the Executive Council as a non-official member or becoming the chief secretary.

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Asked why she might now be changing her mind, Ip said: “At first I was worried joining the government would affect the positioning of my party. But a party cannot always just stay in the attack mode if it wants to gain influence. It must have better access to the highest level of decision-making within the government.

“As part of the pro-establishment bloc, I can support the system, but it doesn’t mean I’ll support every [government] issue.”