Executive Council convenor Leung Chun-ying, who has yet to announce officially his candidacy to succeed Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, told a political commentator in March 2009 that he would seek the post, according to a US diplomatic cable published by the WikiLeaks website. In the confidential cable dated July 8, 2009 and sent by former US consul general Joseph Donovan to the State Department, Leung had 'clearly' told Allen Lee Peng-fei, a former lawmaker, of his intention to succeed Tsang when the incumbent's current term expires next year. 'Allen Lee told us that, prior to March, he had not met Leung for 29 years. Leung paid him a 'courtesy [phone] call' on March 26 [in] which Leung revealed his plan to run for CE,' according to the cable. After the call, Leung met Lee privately, during which he demonstrated an understanding of the current problems facing Hong Kong and the challenges he faced in polishing his own image, Lee told the diplomat. A spokesman for Leung declined to comment on the leaked cable but Lee confirmed to Cable TV last night that that he did break the 'news' to Donovan during a meeting in 2009. The South China Morning Post first reported in April 2009 Leung's intention to run for chief executive. In poll findings announced by the Democratic Party on Thursday, Leung's prospects have shown a remarkable turnaround at a time when his main prospective rival for Tsang's job, Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen, drew fire for a remark about how police had handled Vice-Premier Li Keqiang's visit to Hong Kong. Twenty-eight per cent of the 586 respondents believed Leung would be the most courageous in protecting Hong Kong's interests and would be prepared to say 'no' to Beijing when it mattered. Former Legco president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai scored 22.2 per cent, while Tang polled 21.2 per cent.