Tsang: Election for new chief executive in July
A new chief executive for Hong Kong who will serve two years to complete Tung Chee-hwa's term of office would be elected on July 10, Acting Chief Executive Donald Tsang announced yesterday.
All executive councillors and principal officials have agreed to remain in office following Tung's departure, Tsang said, and called on legislators and the community to back the government in the interest of Hong Kong's stability.
Tsang succeeded Tung as Hong Kong's stand-in first-in-command yesterday after the State Council approved Tung's resignation.
He praised Tung for ensuring Hong Kong's stability, successfully implementing the principle of "one country, two systems," leading Hong Kong to overcome the Asian financial crisis and promoting economic synergy between the SAR and the mainland.
Over the past seven-and-half years, "Tung has always whole-heartedly and with great passion undertaken his job as the leader of the HKSAR government. He has always been mindful of the wellbeing of the community, particularly the less fortunate," Tsang said.
"Tung always put the interests of Hong Kong people at the forefront of his administration. Taking care of those in need and providing them with the necessary aid has always been one of his major policy objectives.
"Since its return to the motherland, Hong Kong has triumphed over one challenge after another. The diligence, perseverance and resourcefulness of our people have certainly played a part. But equally important was the contribution of Tung.
"His contributions to Hong Kong deserve our recognition and thanks," Tsang said.
Tsang admitted the SAR government's decision that the new chief executive serve the rest of Tung's term might seem controversial to some people in the community.
The government arrived at the view after thorough discussion with legal experts on the mainland and careful study of Basic Law drafting documents, he said.
Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung said that broadly speaking, their legal analysis was based on four areas: the terms of important offices in State organs like president and vice-president of the country; original intent underlying the design of the Basic Law; the portfolio scope of Election Committee; and the April 26, 2004 interpretation of the Basic Law by the National People's Congress Standing Committee.