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Tsang resigns to run in Hong Kong by-election
By Tonny Chan (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-25 21:49

Acting Chief Executive and Chief Secretary for Administration Donald Tsang ended days of speculation yesterday and resigned from the post to clear the way for his bid to ascend to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's (SAR) helm in the CE by-election in July.

Donald Tsang declares his resignation in HongKong May 25, 2005. [newsphoto]

Announcing his move at the government headquarters last night, Tsang avowed he would face not only the 800 Election Committee (EC) members, but also the general public once his resignation was approved.

He pledged to engage the community to win their support in the by-election, scheduled for July 10.

His resignation was announced immediately after the Legislative Council (LegCo) passed, by 33 to 21, a bill to amend the Chief Executive Election Ordinance to limit the tenure of the CE returned in the by-election to two years.

Explaining his campaign move, Tsang said it was motivated by a commitment to working for the successful implementation of "one country, two systems" in the SAR.

"I want to contribute to the successful implementation of 'one country, two systems.' I want to contribute to the ongoing success of Hong Kong," he stated.

"I want Hong Kong people to take pride in being part of the country as well as our own unique community."

He said that while the State Council considered his resignation, he would get down to the details with his campaign team to prepare for the election.

He pledged: "After the State Council approval, I will share my philosophy on governance with the community as soon as possible. I will announce my election manifesto. I will explain my belief and values to the 800 members of the EC and to the 7 million people of Hong Kong. I will work hard to engage the community and garner their support."

Tsang said his decision was supported by his family and friends, adding he had no fear in the challenge because it was a "selfless" decision.

Tsang tendered his resignation to the State Council in the evening and proceeded on leave immediately. The SAR's leadership during the transition is passed to Financial Secretary Henry Tang who, according to Article 53 of the Basic Law, stepped in as the acting CE.

Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen, meanwhile, acts as the chief secretary for administration.

Declaring personal support for Tsang, Tang assured he would stick to election guidelines that required any canvassing activities by principal officials to be free of interest conflict, not to involve public resources and not to harm the neutrality of civil service.

"I strongly believe the decision reflects his commitment to the successful implementation of 'one country, two systems' as well as the stability and prosperity prevailing in Hong Kong," Tang said.

Tang said he had worked with Tsang on different capacities for many years and found he was a highly capable official with extensive administrative experience. "His performance has been well received and supported by the people of Hong Kong."

(China Daily 05/26/2005 page1)

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