Saturday, March 12, 2005

Tsang takes over as Hong Kong’s acting chief

Financial Times, March 12 2005

Donald Tsang, Hong Kong’s chief secretary for administration, officially took over as acting chief executive of the territory following Tung Chee-hwa’s resignation as leader two days ago.

Mr Tsang, flanked by members of his cabinet and the executive council, said in a press conference at the Hong Kong central government’s offices that China’s state council had accepted Mr Tung’s resignation. The approval formally makes Mr Tsang the territory’s second leader since its return to Chinese rule in 1997. Mr Tsang will be acting chief executive until an election is held on July 10 for a permanent successor. He also said that after consultations between Elsie Leung, secretary of justice, and several mainland legal experts the decision was made that whoever won the July 10 election would only serve the remaining two years of Mr Tung’s tenure and not a full five-year term.

Mr Tsang’s comments at the weekend put to rest some of the many questions left unanswered by Mr Tung’s resignation on Thursday. However concerns remain in Hong Kong about how the succession process has been handled and the extent that Beijing’s assertion of its grip over the territory’s affairs may be jeopardising the “one country, two systems” model that governs its relations with the mainland.-----------------------

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