Hong Kong chief candidate John Lee secures nominations needed to run for election

Former Hong Kong chief secretary John Lee received more than 200 nominations as of April 10, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Hong Kong's leading candidate for the city's top government job has secured enough nominations required for the leadership race just a day after Mr John Lee kicked off his campaign, according to the South China Morning Post.

The city's former chief secretary received more than 200 nominations as of late Sunday (April 10), the newspaper reported Mr Chan Yung, a deputy director for Mr Lee's campaign office, as saying. The number exceeds the minimum 188 nominations that a candidate needs to enter the race.

Mr Chan said the team hoped to get at least 500 nominations.

Mr Lee resigned last week as Hong Kong's No. 2 official to run, with China's Cabinet approving his departure.

During a press briefing on Saturday, he declared "loyalty is the basic requirement. The chief executive must be a patriotic person".

Current Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on April 4, just after the start of a two-week period to obtain nominations, that she wouldn't seek another five-year term.

While widely considered as lacking in knowledge of and connections in the finance and business sectors, Mr Lee said on Saturday that would instead allow him to make "fair and just" policies. He did not give further details on how he plans to strengthen the city's international hub status.

Mr Tam Yiu-chung, director of Mr Lee's campaign office, said the team will develop a political manifesto by the end of April, the SCMP reported earlier on Sunday.

Despite sweeping support for Mr Lee from Hong Kong's tycoons in their latest show of loyalty to China, Beijing's backing of Mr Lee raised concerns that Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to prioritise tightening security in the former British colony over rebuilding the city's status as an international financial hub.

The next chief executive will take office on July 1, the halfway mark in China's 50-year pledge to preserve the city's liberal financial and political systems.

Approximately 1,500 people, mostly Beijing loyalists, will vote on May 8 to select Mrs Lam's successor.

Meanwhile, a government spokesman said Sunday that Mr Lee's position being vacant won't impede the administration's work.

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