Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has made a surprise announcement that he will not seek re-election due to family reasons.
“If I run my family will suffer an intolerable stress due to my electioneering,” he told a press briefing, which is still ongoing.
Leung had repeatedly told media “there was no message” yet when asked whether he would seek a second term in March.
During a trip to an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Peru last month, Leung told the media that President Xi Jinping had approved of his work in office, but Leung later said people should not “over-interpret” the remarks as being any endorsement of further political ambitions.
On Thursday night, he was seen at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin, where his elder daughter Leung Chai-yan was rumoured to be receiving treatment.
Leung assumed office as Hong Kong’s fourth chief executive in 2012, succeeding Donald Tsang Yam-kuen. Leung was a member of te Executive Council from 1997 to 2011, prior to taking over the top spot.