Beijing is anxious to ensure Hong Kong’s leadership race will produce a loyal chief executive capable of fostering unity and quashing any signs of infighting among various sectors, without distracting the city’s attention from fighting the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, analysts have said.
It was not unexpected for Chief Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu to be tipped as a strong contender for the May 8 election, they added, as the No 2 official was relatively receptive to pro-establishment legislators’ opinion on public initiatives and yet could be tough on pushing through long-term policies unpopular with some quarters but important for the city.
“Lee is relatively less knowledgeable on some policy areas, but that may well become his strength … Beijing might also value his absolute loyalty as a seasoned police officer too,” a former pro-establishment lawmaker said.
Since Sunday, Lee has been touted by multiple sources as the front runner in the leadership race, sidelining other potential hopefuls such as Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po, former chief executive Leung Chun-ying and New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee.
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