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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says she will not seek a second term -Breaking


© Reuters. Hong Kong Chief Govt Carrie Lam listens to a reporter’s questions throughout a information convention in Hong Kong, China April 4, 2022. Vincent Yu/Pool through REUTERS


By Jessie Pang and James Pomfret

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s embattled chief Carrie Lam, who has ruled the worldwide monetary hub via the unprecedented upheaval of anti-government protests and COVID-19, mentioned on Monday she won’t search a second five-year time period of workplace.

Lam’s announcement got here as media mentioned Chief Secretary John Lee, Hong Kong’s second most senior official, was set to resign to affix the race to switch Lam in Could because the Chinese language-ruled metropolis’s subsequent chief.

“There’s just one consideration and that’s household. I’ve informed everybody earlier than that household is my first precedence,” Lam informed a daily press briefing.

“They assume it’s time for me to go house.”

She declined to touch upon doable candidates to switch her and mentioned she had not selected her future plans.

Lam, born in British-ruled Hong Kong in 1957 and a life-long civil servant who describes herself as a religious Catholic, took workplace in 2017 with a pledge to unite a metropolis that was rising more and more resentful of Beijing’s tightening grip.

Two years later, thousands and thousands of democracy supporters took to the streets in generally violent anti-government protests. The unrest led to Beijing imposing a sweeping nationwide safety legislation in June 2020, giving it extra energy than ever to form life in Hong Kong.

An exasperated Lam mentioned on the peak of the unrest in 2019 that if she had the selection she would stop, including in remarks to a bunch of enterprise those that the chief govt “has to serve two masters by structure, that’s the central individuals’s authorities and the individuals of Hong Kong”.

“Political room for manoeuvring could be very, very, very restricted,” she added, in accordance with an audio recording of her feedback obtained by Reuters.

Lam mentioned on Monday she had proposed a authorities restructuring to mainland authorities that would come with new coverage departments however it could be as much as the town’s subsequent chief to determine whether or not to go forward with the plan.

Metropolis leaders are chosen by a small election committee stacked with Beijing loyalists so whoever turns into the subsequent chief of the previous British colony will achieve this with Beijing’s tacit approval.

Lee, 64, a safety official in the course of the extended and infrequently violent 2019 pro-democracy protests, was promoted in 2021 in a transfer some analysts mentioned signalled Beijing’s renewed give attention to safety slightly than the economic system.

Lee didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

Different doable contenders talked about in media embrace the town’s monetary secretary, Paul Chan, in addition to former chief Leung Chun-ying. None has introduced a bid.

Hong Kong returned from British to Chinese language rule in 1997 with the assure of wide-ranging freedoms, together with an impartial judiciary and proper to public meeting, for not less than 50 years.

America sanctioned each Lam and Lee, amongst different officers, in 2020, saying they’d undermined Hong Kong’s excessive diploma of autonomy from Beijing and curtailed political freedoms with the nationwide safety legislation that punishes offences like subversion and secession with as much as life imprisonment.

Chinese language and Hong Kong authorities deny particular person rights are being eroded and say the safety legislation was wanted to revive the steadiness mandatory for financial success after the extended unrest.

The management election was pushed again from March to Could 8 to provide the federal government time to battle a COVID outbreak that has contaminated greater than one million of the 7.4 million individuals within the metropolis. Lam’s time period ends on June 30.

Since Hong Kong returned to Chinese language rule it has had 4 chief executives, who all struggled to steadiness the democratic and liberal aspirations of many residents with the imaginative and prescient of China’s Communist Social gathering management.

(The story is refiled to make clear wording in paragraph 14)