Retired judge, pro-China lawmaker plan to contest in Hong Kong chief executive election

Mr Woo Kwok Hing surprised many on Wednesday (Oct 26) by becoming the first person to publicly declare an intention to run in the election next March.
Mr Woo Kwok Hing surprised many on Wednesday (Oct 26) by becoming the first person to publicly declare an intention to run in the election next March.PHOTO:SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST

HONG KONG - A retired judge and a pro-Beijing lawmaker have declared their intention to run in the chief executive election next year.

Mr Woo Kwok Hing surprised many on Wednesday (Oct 26) by becoming the first person to publicly declare an intention to run in the election next March.

The 70-year-old, who has headed a series of high-profile commissions of inquiry, decided to contest in the election because he feels that Hong Kong has become riven with divisions under the incumbent leader Leung Chun Ying, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

The newspaper, citing those who have spoken to Mr Woo, reported that he backs restarting the stalled process of electoral reform in Hong Kong and treads a careful path on the stringent framework Beijing laid down in 2014 for electing the chief executive by "one man, one vote".

Mr Woo will meet the media on Thursday afternoon to discuss the race.

Ms Regina Ip, leader of New People's Party, on Thursday confirmed her interest in running for the city's top job and plans to formally announce her decision after the election committee assembles in December, the newspaper reported.

"I am interested (in running for the chief executive position), and the preparation work is ongoing," she said on Commercial Radio.

The former security minister said she would confirm her candidacy after the 1,200-strong election committee assembles in mid-December.

"I would be practical and see who is voting," SCMP quoted her as saying. "Based on my experiences in previous elections, you must communicate with people who hold votes."

The newspaper also cited Ms Ip as saying that land and housing would be the focal points of her campaign.

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