HONG KONG – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, who survived massive protests against her government in 2019 and oversaw the implementation of tough national security laws aimed at stamping out dissent, said on Monday that she would not seek a second term.
Her successor will be chosen in May.
“I will complete my five-year term as chief executive officer on June 30 this year, and I will also end my 42 years of service,” Lam said at a press conference.
Months ago there was much speculation about whether she would seek another term, but she said her decision was passed to the central government in Beijing last year and met. with “respect and understanding”.
Mass protests against the territory’s government rocked Hong Kong in 2019, including calls for Lam to step down. In 2020, Beijing responded with a tough national security law that curtailed dissent in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.
Hong Kong media said that her No. 2 John Lee is likely to enter the race to succeed her. Chief of Staff Lee was the head of the city’s security department during the protests.
Hong Kong’s leaders are elected by a committee consisting of legislators, representatives of various industries and professions, and pro-Beijing representatives such as Hong Kong delegates in China’s legislature. One of the unfulfilled demands of the 2019 protests was the direct election of the city’s chief executive.
The city was originally scheduled to hold its chief executive election on March 27, but the poll was postponed for six weeks until May 8 due to the city’s worst coronavirus outbreak. city.
Lam said that holding the polls as originally planned would pose “public health risks” even if a committee only had 1,462 participants.