‘I am interested’ in running for Hong Kong chief executive, Regina Ip confirms

By staff writer

Pro-establishment lawmaker gives clearest indication to date of interest in city’s top job, says she’ll wait for election committee in December to decide

By staff writer |

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New People’s Party lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee in the Legislative Council on Wednesday.

New People’s Party leader Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee has confirmed for the first time her interest in running to be Hong Kong’s leader and plans to formally announce her decision after the city’s election committee assembles in December.

Ip, also an executive councillor, gave the clearest indication to date of her interest in the city’s top job after retired judge Woo Kwok-hing surprised many on Wednesday by becoming the first person to publicly declare an intention to run in the chief executive election next March.

Woo is due to meet the press on Thursday afternoon to discuss the race.

Addressing her plans on Commercial Radio on Thursday, Ip said: “I am interested [in running for the chief executive position], and the preparation work is ongoing.”

Ip, a former security minister, said she was adjusting her workload following her re-election to the city’s Legislative Council and preparing for a possible chief executive run.

She said on Thursday she planned to confirm her candidacy after the 1,200-strong election committee assembles in mid-December.

“I would be practical and see who is voting,” Ip said. “Based on my experiences in previous elections, you must communicate with people who hold votes.”

She described Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, widely reported to be planning to quit his post to run for chief executive, as not having accomplished much over the past decade.

Ip said housing had been a long-standing problem in the city, marked by long queues for public rental flats, and that land and housing would be focal points of her campaign.

She also said these areas could be weaknesses for Woo, who has headed a number of high-profile government commissions.

“Woo has strong experience in law, but I don’t know how much he knows about the economy, livelihood issues and housing,” she said.

Ip added that she believed Woo’s decision to run stemmed from a discontent with the current administration and from a desire to change the status quo.

Appearing earlier on the same programme on Thursday, Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said he felt Woo would adopt a middle-of-the-road approach and might be receptive to democratic positions on politics and social issues.

To said he learned of Woo’s election plans in a face-to-face meeting with the former judge earlier this week.