One of Leung Chun-ying's cabinet members says she needs to "make preparations" for the chief executive election - the strongest hint yet that she could consider running in the 2017 poll. Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who chairs the New People's Party, also believes that she has an edge over men as a politician because women are more used to taking a "soft" approach. The 64-year-old legislator's comments came during an interview with Cable TV. Ip had planned to run for the chief executive post in the 2012 election, but dropped the plan because she had too few supporters in the Election Committee. She said at the time that she might consider contesting the chief executive poll in 2017, provided she remained healthy. When asked if she would consider running in 2017, Ip said: "I think I need to make preparations ... do some basic work first. "You won't concede that you will not be able to win before even knowing who else is going to run," she added. Ip believed Leung, 60, would probably seek a second term. "Mr Leung is not old. And it seems he is rather interested in the work," she said. While she agreed that Leung, as the incumbent, could have an edge over other candidates, she said being a woman would also have its advantages. "Women are gentle. Even if your stance is very firm, you can adopt a soft and gentle approach," she said. She cited as an example Leung's criticism of university students for advocating "Hong Kong independence". She said: "There are many ways to express your view. A way can be regarded as successful if no one feels offended … and if people are willing to think carefully about what you say afterwards." Ip also believed Leung could more easily secure a second term if the upcoming electoral reform package was vetoed in Legco. Some five million eligible voters can choose the chief executive by "one man, one vote" in 2017 should the reform package be passed. But pan-democrats have vowed to vote against any reform based on the framework laid down by Beijing last August. Under that framework, only two or three candidates - endorsed by a majority of the 1,200 members of a nominating committee - would be put forward for a popular vote. If the reform package is vetoed, the existing way of nominating candidates and choosing the chief executive by a 1,200-member Election Committee will continue. "Facing some five million voters is of course more difficult than dealing with 1,200 people," Ip added.