Finance Secretary John Tsang says he’ll think about running for Chief Executive in ‘coming days’

14-Dec-2016 Intellasia | Coconuts | 6:00 AM Print This Post

John Tsang says he has to “think through” whether he should run for the Hong Kong government’s topmost position after resigning as Finance Secretary, a position he has held for nearly a decade.

Tsang, 65, said he hadn’t yet decided if he would run in the upcoming Chief Executive election at 6:30pm today, during a press conference he called to confirm his resignation.

After thanking the Central People’s government, Chief Executive CY Leung, and previous CEs Tung Kin-hwa and Donald Tsang, the 65-year-old said, “I think all of you are concerned about whether I would run for Chief Executive or not. As I have said before, whether I would run or not run is a serious and solemn matter. I shall think through this in the coming days and make an announcement once ready.”

Tsang made headlines earlier today after news of his resignation broke, fanning speculation that he would soon be announcing his candidacy for the March election.

Over the past year, Tsang has consistently topped popularity surveys on potential CE candidates, which include retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, pro-Beijing lawmaker Regina Ip, ex-LegCo president Jasper Tsang, and even incumbent Chief Executive CY Leung.

Last week, to the surprise of many, Leung announced that he would not be seeking a second term on Friday afternoon, citing “family reasons”. The city’s deeply unpopular leader denied that his choice not to run for re-election was influenced by Beijing, and said that “everyone in Hong Kong” could see that central government had been “very supportive” of his work over the years.

In contrast to Leung’s stern public image, Tsang is regarded with affection by Hongkongers, who have dubbed him ” Crisps” in reference to his apparent resemblance to the Pringles logo.

Or, as journalist Stuart Heaver put it on Twitter, Tsang has “the cuddly reassuring tone of a day time TV chat show host”. Well, he’s not wrong there.

However, Tsang’s detractors have previously called him out for using budget surpluses on one-off tax rebates or “sweeteners”, instead of designating them to under-funded social welfare policies.


Category: Hong Kong

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