Leung Chun-ying visited two powerful former supporters of his main opponent as chief executive yesterday and was told by one: if he wants support, be sincere and open and remember that the rule of man, as distinct from the rule of law, has no place in Hong Kong.
In conciliatory mode after a bruising and scandal-filled election campaign, the chief executive-elect met Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, once tipped as a contender for the top job, at her office after calling at the home of 94-year-old former Executive Council convenor Chung Sze-yuen.
Both supported Leung's rival, Henry Tang Ying-yen.
The meetings came as speculation over the make-up of Leung's cabinet continued to swirl, with several possible contenders for positions saying they had yet to be invited and one - Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah - saying he was 'thinking about it'.
After their 45-minute meeting Fan, a member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said: 'If [Leung's] government works for Hong Kong people earnestly, sincerely and honestly, I think everyone would support it.'
The former Legislative Council president added: '[Hongkongers'] common hope is that freedom of expression and of speech currently enjoyed can remain unchanged.
'In a nutshell, I believe ... what is paramount is rule of law, not rule of man.'
Vowing to meet both people who had supported and opposed him, Leung said he had called on 'two old friends' to seek advice. Fan described it differently.
She said: 'We've known each other for many years ... Of course, I ought to treat our chief executive-elect in a courteous fashion.'
She reiterated that a 'big reconciliation' in the pro-establishment camp could not be achieved merely by words, and said she did not see that she had any responsibility to help bring one about.
Earlier, Leung met members of 11 professional groups and asked them for a 'wish list' he could take to Beijing when he visits the capital to be formally appointed.
Professionals such as doctors, lawyers, architects and engineers have had their qualifications recognised on the mainland under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement for nine years, but have complained of numerous obstacles preventing them from doing business there.
Several of those at the meeting, including Wong and Medical Association vice-president Dr Chow Pak-chin, said they had not been invited to join Leung's government.
On Commercial Radio earlier, former Hospital Authority director Ko Wing-man said the same.
Permanent secretary for commerce and industry Andrew Wong Ho-yuen arrived at Leung's office immediately after the professionals' meeting, sparking speculation that he might have discussed a government role, but Leung said they had only talked about Cepa.
Asked whether he would stay or quit after June 30, finance chief Tsang only said briefly that he was 'still thinking', without dropping further hints.
Meanwhile, 20 pan-democratic legislators have invited Leung for a meeting this month to discuss whether the city would introduce universal suffrage for the chief executive election in 2017 and enact national security legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law.