Carrie Lam joins Hong Kong's chief executive race with overwhelming number of nominations

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's former chief secretary, stands for a photograph after submitting her nomination form for the chief executive election to the city's returning officer in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017.
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's former chief secretary, stands for a photograph after submitting her nomination form for the chief executive election to the city's returning officer in Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Feb 28, 2017.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

HONG KONG - Former chief secretary Carrie Lam on Tuesday (Feb 28) submitted a total of 579 nominations for the race to be the city's next leader.

The number is just 22 short of the number of votes needed to win in the secret ballot on March 26.

"I have just submitted a total of 579 nominations to the Electoral Affairs Office. I hope that once they have been validated, I will become a candidate in the chief executive election," the South China Morning Post quoted her as telling reporters.

The report said Mrs Lam, 59, received her nominations largely from sectors such as the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, National People's Congress, and rural affairs body Heung Yee Kuk. None were from the pan-democratic camp.

Former financial chief John Tsang, 65, submitted his 160 nominations on Saturday and his candidacy was confirmed on Monday.

Another contender is retired judge Woo Kwok Hing, 70, who submitted 180 nominations on Monday.

Former security chief and lawmaker Regina Ip, 66, is still struggling to secure 150 nominations - the minimum required.

Mrs Lam, seen as the frontrunner in the race to become Hong Kong's next chief executive, has said she wants young people to take part in the discussion and formulation of government policies.

She pledged on Monday to engage young Hong Kongers in "meaningful dialogues" and get them to take a more active role in the discussion and debate on public affairs.