Carrie Lam

Will Carrie Lam seek re-election in Hong Kong? You will have to ask her husband Lam Siu-por

Hong Kong’s leader opens up about married life, says another election bid hinges on her better half’s approval

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 October, 2017, 3:17pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 October, 2017, 2:14am

Will Hong Kong’s leader stay for another term? It’s not only up to Beijing to decide, but also her husband it seems.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she had no regrets in her decision to take the oath of office in July – despite the long hours one must put in to manage the city of 7.3 million people.

“This job is 16 to 17 hours a day non-stop … If I do not have the confidence and optimism for Hong Kong, why should I do this job?” Lam said on a radio programme on Friday, part of a press tour promoting her maiden policy address she delivered on Wednesday.

“I don’t have second thoughts [on taking up the job], this is a huge and honourable mission for any person … there is one person that’s always having second thoughts, and that’s my husband,” Lam said, with a chuckle.

Residents of Hong Kong, although granted certain freedoms and autonomy under the “one country, two systems” framework since the city was handed from British to Chinese rule in 1997, are unable to democratically elect their own leader. Lam was elected by a 1,200-member election committee dominated by pro-Beijing supporters in March.

She had previously promised her husband Lam Siu-por, who has kept a low profile, that she would not run to be the city’s leader before former chief executive Leung Chun-ying announced that he would not be seeking a re-election.

She had repeatedly said that she had no interest in the job and that she was hoping to retire.

It was not until last December, Lam made a surprise U-turn decision to say she would reconsider throwing her hat into the ring after Leung dropped the political bombshell. At the time she also said she would have to seek approval from her family before announcing her bid.

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When asked if she made a promise to her husband to only serve one term, Lam said: “It’s not a matter of promise, it’s matter of his approval on the basis of five more years.”

The couple have been married for more than 30 years.

After Lam made her election bid, Lam Siu-por, a mathematician who taught in Beijing and the UK before returning to Hong Kong, wrote her a letter on Valentines’ Day, saying the outpouring of encouragement from the community convinced him he should support her candidacy.

Lam, 60, also did not rule out whether she would decide to serve another term after the next five years, saying that as a politician, “you don’t say no on anything you’re not certain”.

However, she did mention that she would like to take time to cook, travel and read.

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Lam is Hong Kong’s first female chief executive after serving in past administrations as chief secretary and secretary for development.

Lam said the ultimate objective of her administration was to improve Hongkonger’s quality of life.

“At the moment, Hong Kong has a very good window to scale new heights … and my primary objective and wish now is to serve the people of Hong Kong.”