Chief executive choices: Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah tops pre-election poll

Chief executive choices: Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah tops pre-election poll

Tsang was closely followed by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor

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(clockwise from top-left) SC Carrie Lam; FS John Tsang; Regina Ip; and Woo Kwok-hing. Photo: SCMP Pictures.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah was at the top of a pre-chief executive election poll, followed closely by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor. Most interviewees did not want New People’s Party lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee to be the next top leader.

The survey was organised by Lingnan University’s Public Governance Programme (PGP). It was paid for by Now TV. Around 1,000 Hongkongers over the age of 18 were interviewed from December 16-20.

Now TV say the results showed that the potential chief executive candidate John Tsang ranked first. But his rating had dropped from 28 per cent in November to 26.6 per cent in December. He was followed by Lam with 20.2 per cent. Her score had gone up from 8.3 per cent last month.


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Retired judge Woo Kwok-hing came third with 11.5 per cent, followed by Ip with 10.7 per cent. Former Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing came last with eight per cent of the votes.

The survey was conducted after current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced on December 9 that he would not seek a second term. The next day saw Lam “reconsider”running for the job. John Tsang quit as the city’s financial secretary on December 12, but the central government has yet to approve his resignation. Ip announced her candidacy earlier this month.

The poll also showed that Ip has replaced Leung on the list of most undesirable candidates for next year’s chief executive election. Some 46.7 per cent of the interviewees in the survey did not want Leung to rerun. After he announced he would not seek another term, his “unpopular” votes went to Ip. The latest survey saw Ip’s “unpopular” rating increase sharply, rising from 10.5 per cent to 35.4 per cent. Woo followed Ip on the list of most unfavourable candidates with 15.4 per cent, followed by Lam with 11.5 per cent, John Tsang with 6.6 per cent and Jasper Tsang with 4.4 per cent.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University political scientist Dr Chung Kim-wah told Young Post yesterday that the reason for Ip’s “widespread” unpopularity was her emphasis on implementing Article 23 of the Basic Law.


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“Ip’s election platform is mainly about pleasing Beijing. Although the city has a legal duty to enact laws to give effect to Article 23, she should not have ‘pushed’ it given the tense political atmosphere at the moment. Many Hongkongers could feel threatened by this and wary about the future under her leadership. Don’t forget she was the official who triggered 500,000 people to take to the streets in protest in 2003,” Chung said.

Asked why Lam had become more popular among interviewees, Chung said she gave the impression that she was a responsible, capable and experienced civil servant. “Some people said she didn’t do well as Chief Secretary, but I think it was not as ‘disastrous’ as Leung’s run. Her ‘good fighter’ image has undoubtedly gained some Hongkongers’ support.”

The chief executive election is scheduled for March 26.

Edited by Lucy Christie

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Chief executive choices

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