Following an at times controversial turn as Hong Kong's Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying has just announced that he won't seek re-election (or at least what passes as elections in Hong Kong) at the scheduled end of his term next year. In a surprise press conference, he cited family reasons for the guiding factor behind his decision.
"It was my own decision," he told gathered reporters this afternoon. "As a husband, as a father, I have a responsibility to take care of my family." It's believed that his daughter, colourful socialite Chai-yan, is currently receiving treatment at Prince of Wales Hospital for undisclosed health issues.
Leung, who was visibly emotional while making his statement, also said that any re-election efforts might be harmful for his family. "I am afraid that my family may face unbearable pressure owing to my election campaign in the next few months," he said. "I must protect them on this matter."
At this stage, it's anyone's guess as to who will take over the Hong Kong's top job. The 'election' to replace Leung will be held in March, but the major players have been keeping their cards close to their chests. The only candidate to have officially announced their run so far is former judge Woo Kwok-hing. Pro-Beijing lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yi is expected to announce her official entry to the race next week. Today, Ip was endorsed by former Hong Kong chief secretary David Akers-Jones – the one-time number 2 was also a backer of CY's run in the 2012 chief executive election. Also expected to throw his hat in the ring is current financial secretary and spectacularly moustachioed John Tsang Chun-wah.
Leung would not be drawn today into backing any of the candidates, official or prospective. He only offered that he would 'support whoever wins the election and whoever is capable of being appointed by the Central People’s government'.