HONG KONG - Former financial chief John Tsang submitted his nominations on Saturday morning (Feb 25) to formally qualify for Hong Kong's leadership race, ahead of his strongest rival Carrie Lam.
Mr Tsang, 65, told reporters he had secured 160 nominations, slightly over the 150 minimum nominations required to qualify for next month's Chief Executive election.
Mrs Lam, 59, who secured the minimum nominations within two days after nomination opened on Feb 14, has not said when she would submit them. The former chief secretary is reported to have bagged over 300 nominations.
Meanwhile two other contenders - Mrs Regina Ip, 66 and Mr Woo Kwok Hing, 70 - are struggling to gather enough support before nomination closes next Wednesday.
Mrs Ip, head of New People's Party, has refused to disclose how many nominations she has gathered so far, but it is understood that she has more than 20 nominations, mostly from her own party.
The former security chief was forced to step down after half a million people took to the streets to protest against a national security legislation that she was pushing for in 2003.
Retired judge Woo, an independent contender who has no affiliation with any political party, has bagged 104 nominations and all were from the pan-democratic camp.
Both Mrs Ip and Mr Woo attended an election forum at Hong Kong University on Saturday in what was seen as their last-ditch attempt to secure more nominations.
Pan-democrats hold 326 votes in the 1,194-member Election Committee that will pick the city's next leader on Mar 26.