Lawmaker Regina Ip has announced that her party has uniamously agreed that she will run for the chief executive position. She will be resigning from her position in the Executive Council and officially announcing her candidacy on Thursday.
“I am confident to get 150 nominations. The more the better,” she said.
Ip said among the candidates that may run, she is the only who has gone through popular elections.
“I believe the experience is useful,” she said.
She will run in her own personal capacity, and will resign from the party if she wins. She will announce her team and platform on Thursday, and she has notified Chinese officials.
Ip said it was normal that election committee members have not yet voiced their support. “I haven’t even asked them yet,” she said, adding that her party already holds 24 votes.
She said that she has friendly relationships with many supporters of incumbent Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, and added that they may not automatically support Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, another potential candidate.
Ip said two pro-democracy lawmakers Claudia Mo and Leung Yiu-chung told her to fight on, and she was grateful for the “spiritual support” from the two who have been colleagues of her for eight years.
“Maybe I am at a weak position, so they encouraged me,” she said.
But Mo has said in response that she was only being polite.
Ip, 66, has served as a non-official member of the Executive Council under Leung. She set up her own pro-Beijing party, the New People’s Party, in 2011. She has been a lawmaker in the Legislative Council since 2008, representing the Hong Kong Island constituency.
Ip’s most notable and controversial role was her tenure as Secretary for Security from 1998 to 2003 under former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. During her term, she pushed for Article 23 – a security law banning acts of treason and subversion against the Chinese government – to be passed in the legislature in 2003. The government eventually abandoned the bill after mass demonstrations, and she resigned from her post.
On Saturday, Ip said that implementing the article remains a “constitutional duty” for the next leader, and that she would “definitely go ahead” if she is elected.
The Chief Executive election will take place on March 26. The only candidate who has declared his candidacy thus far is retired judge Woo Kwok-hing. Financial secretary John Tsang announced his resignation from his post on Monday and is expected to launch his bid for Chief Executive soon.