Chief Secretary Carrie Lam said in Beijing on Friday that she would not speak to central government officials about the chief executive race no matter during official or private events. She urged journalists to stop following her after official engagements so that she can spend time with her son.
Lam had said she needed to reconsider whether to join the chief executive race after her boss Leung Chun-ying declared he would not seek re-election two weeks ago.
She flew to Beijing on Thursday for a cultural event at the former imperial palace. She will stay in Beijing for two more days after the official events on Friday to be with family, before returning to Hong Kong on Monday.
“This is a sensitive moment ahead of the chief executive race, I can understand there is speculation from media friends. But I want to state again that I am in Beijing for the cultural cooperation project and to stay with my son, I am not seeking signs, or attending job interviews in Beijing,” she said.
“So I hope journalists can stop following me after tomorrow – I have not seen my son for a very long time.” she said. She clarified that only her eldest son lives in Beijing, and her husband lives in Hong Kong, rather than working in Beijing, as previously reported.
Meanwhile, the government has announced that the nomination period for the chief executive race will be between February 14 and March 1 next year.
Voting day will be held on March 26 next year.
The Gazette, the government’s official record published on Friday, also announced that Madam Justice Carlye Chu Fun-ling, Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of the High Court, has been appointed by the Electoral Affairs Commission as the Returning Officer for the election.
Any Hong Kong permanent resident who is a Chinese citizen is eligible for nomination as a candidate. However, they must hold no right of abode in any foreign country, be at least 40 years of age and have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of at least 20 years.
A candidate must then obtain at least 150 nominations from members of the chief executive election committee.
Currently, only retired judge Woo Kwok-hing and lawmaker Regina Ip have announced they will run for the top job. Both have not disclosed how many nominations they may be able to obtain. Financial Secretary John Tsang tendered his resignation on December 12 but it has yet to be approved.