Chan reaffirms she has no intention of challenging Tsang

AFP , HONG KONG

Sun, Sep 24, 2006 - Page 5

Hong Kong's popular former deputy leader Anson Chan (陳方安生) said yesterday she did not intend to challenge Chief Executive Donald Tsang (曾蔭權) in leadership elections.

"I take the opportunity this afternoon to make clear that I have no intention to putting my name forward for the election of chief executive for the year 2007," Chan told reporters.

Chan said she did not intend to run and that Tsang had been informed of this "a long time ago."

She added that she had been under no pressure from Chinese authorities to stand down.

Tsang is widely considered a shoo-in as he is the only politician in Hong Kong who has Beijing's trust -- a credential that many believe is far more important than votes in the convoluted selection system.

Chan denied she had made this decision because there was little chance in defeating Tsang.

Chan, who was deputy leader under the last British colonial governor and the first post-handover chief executive, made a headline-grabbing return to the political spotlight in recent months.

She made a landmark move by joining a pro-democracy march last December, fueling speculation that recent efforts to bolster her public support were part of a broader plan to run for the chief executive's post.

Chan said she had no intention to form a political party but did not say whether she intended to run for the top job in the future.