Senior officials are expected to make chief's resignation official today The final act in the drama of Tung Chee-hwa's departure as chief executive is set to be played out in Beijing today. The central government is expected to announce it has accepted Mr Tung's resignation after nearly eight turbulent years in power and that his successor will serve only the remaining two years of his current term. The announcements will come after Mr Tung is elected a vice-chairman of the Chinese Political People's Consultative Conference, a state leader position. Arriving in the capital a day after ending 10 days of intense speculation by announcing he had tendered his resignation, Mr Tung was answering no questions. Wearing a broad smile, he waved to reporters as he walked into the Swissotel and said: 'I will talk with you tomorrow.' At Hong Kong airport earlier, his wife, Betty Tung Chiu Hung-ping, had also refused to answer questions before leaving for Beijing but declared herself to be 'in a good mood'. Meanwhile, the debate over the term for the next chief executive continued - with one mainland legal expert suggesting likely successor Donald Tsang Yam-kuen could serve as long as 12 years. Raymond Wu Wai-yung, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, said he believed the State Council would announce, along with the formal acceptance of Mr Tung's resignation, that the new chief would serve only the remaining two years of Mr Tung's tenure. Dr Wu, also a Hong Kong member of the Basic Law Committee under the NPC Standing Committee, said the State Council's announcement of the term for Mr Tung's replacement would have a 'certain legal effect'. 'Hong Kong's courts will have to think twice if they receive applications for hearing cases on the term of Mr Tung's successor,' he said. State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan and several mainland legal experts also said the new chief executive should serve out the remaining two years. But Wang Zhenmin , deputy dean of Tsinghua University's school of law, said that if Mr Tsang served a partial term initially he might be able to stand for two more full terms. According to international practice, 'if the successor's remaining presidency does not exceed half of the full term of office, it will not be counted as one term of office,' he said. 'Therefore, theoretically, the successor could be re-elected twice.' The Basic Law limits the chief executive to two five-year terms. Bar Association vice-chairman Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung disagreed. He said practice on the mainland and overseas could not be applied to Hong Kong under the 'one country, two systems' arrangement. The CPPCC Standing Committee yesterday endorsed the list of three vice-chairman candidates, including Mr Tung. Standing Committee member Chan Wing-kee said only two of the 280 committee members had objected to Mr Tung's nomination. 'I expect Mr Tung to be returned with more than 95 per cent of the [2,238] CPPCC delegates,' Mr Chan said. Meeting Mr Tung at the Beijing airport yesterday, a top official in charge of Hong Kong affairs said the resignation had already been submitted to the State Council. 'I believe the central government will seriously consider his resignation and handle the issue in a timely manner,' said Chen Zuoer , deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office (HKMAO). State Councillor Mr Tang and Liao Hui, HKMAO director and a CPPCC vice-chairman, last night met Mr Tung at his hotel. Meanwhile, sources said Mr Tsang had travelled to Shenzhen during recent weekends to meet senior mainland officials. 'Mr Tsang has pledged to toe the central government's line on 'big issues' while hoping Beijing will give him a free hand in handling Hong Kong's day-to-day operations and affairs,' the sources said.