Thursday, 27 October 2016

Two Throw their Hats into Chief Executive Race

Woo Kwok-hing talked to the media today about running for chief executive
The process of running for chief executive of Hong Kong is typically a tightly scripted affairs -- particularly if you have the blessing of Beijing.

But in the case of retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, he doesn't seem to care and believes his professional track record makes him a good candidate, as he had no political baggage and no scandals to be exposed.

He made the announcement yesterday which was a surprise to many, and then he held a 90-minute press conference today.

Unlike other previous candidates who make these formal announcements in five-star hotels or the Convention and Exhibition Centre, Woo instead chose a meeting room in the modest Duke of Windsor Social Service Building in Wan Chai.

And he didn't have an entourage of public relations staff, but two women from a PR firm, and his son and daughter-in-law who came to support him.

Woo criticized CY Leung for dividing Hong Kong society
During the press conference he answered wide-ranging questions from incumbent Leung Chun-ying's problems national security issues.

Woo's first target? Leung. "I don't think Mr CY Leung has been able to address public grievances and halt the division of our society to ensure that Hong Kong's best overall interests are served."

He also said it "really doesn't look good" that Leung put his own name as a plaintiff in the recent legal bid to disqualify two localists, Sixtus Baggio Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching, who insulted China, when the justice secretary alone should be in charge.

When asked about what Beijing thought of him running, Woo admitted that he had disclosed his plans to someone in the liaison office -- though not chief Zhang Xiaoming -- and had yet to hear back.

"The message I got from people who had contacts on the mainland told me that the central government had 'no response'," he said. "But this doesn't mean they had 'no comment'."

While he didn't disclose his platform, Woo said political reform was his top and only priority because failure to make progress in the past 19 years had plunged Hong Kong into division and conflict.

Regina Ip confirmed she would run for CE too
"When political reform is resolved, everything else will become easy," he said. Housing, a major issue taken up seriously by the chief executive, was "less important", Woo said.

Probably triggered by Woo's shock announcement, New People's Party leader Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee confirmed today on Commercial Radio that she is interested in the top job too, though she won't formalize her candidacy until after the 1,200 election committee assembles in December.

She said while Woo may be strongly experienced in law, he may not know much about the economy, livelihood issues and housing.

As a result, she plans to make housing and land the top issues in her campaign.

Ip also made a dig at supposed front runner, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, saying he hadn't accomplished much in the past decade.

The claws are out!


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