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John Lee secures nominations for Hong Kong leadership race

HONG KONG (AP) – Hong Kong’s former number two official John Lee said yesterday he had formally registered his candidacy in the election for the top job after securing 786 nominations to enter the race.

Lee, who resigned as chief secretary last week before declaring he would run for chief executive, is the only candidate formally entered so far for the May 8 vote.

He is considered Beijing’s favoured candidate and a sign of the central government further tightening its control over the territory.

Lee’s 786 nominations are well over 50 per cent of the 1,454-member Election Committee that will select the next chief executive. The nomination period ends on Saturday and the committee will elect the winner by absolute majority.

“It is not easy, as I have been working very hard to explain to various members what my election platform will be like,” Lee told reporters.

Former Hong Kong Chief Secretary John Lee and his supporter Hong Kong’s representative to the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress Tam Yiu-chung in Hong Kong. PHOTO: AP

He reiterated that he will focus on a results-oriented approach to solve problems, keeping Hong Kong competitive and setting a firm foundation for the development of Hong Kong.

Current Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam is not seeking a second term, following a rocky five years in power that spanned the COVID-19 pandemic, a crackdown on political freedoms and Beijing’s rapid and growing influence over the territory.

Hong Kong’s leader is chosen every five years.

Lee told reporters on Tuesday that enacting Article 23 of the Basic Law – which stipulates that Hong Kong enacts its own security law – will be a “priority”. Enacting such a law was temporarily shelved after mass protests against the government in 2003.

Hong Kong’s own security law should prohibit acts of treason and the theft of state secrets, as well as other offences including secession, sedition and subversion.