09/23/2006, 00.00
HONG KONG
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Anson Chan will not contest election for chief executive

Today, the popular ex-secretary-general of the territory will announce her decision not to challenge the current governor Tsang in a "predetermined" election.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/SCMP) – Anson Chan Fang On-sang, Hong Kong's popular ex-secretary-general in the last English government and in the first one under China, will not contest the upcoming election for chief executive. She will announce this at a press conference this afternoon, putting an end to rumours about her intention to contest the election.

On 4 December last, Chan's participation in a big rally for universal suffrage was interpreted by analysts as the launch of her campaign for the chief executive's seat. According to the South China Morning Post, friends close to Chan said the ex-secretary-general was not convinced about the idea of contesting an election with a "predetermined" result, referring to the likely re-election of Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, approved by the Chinese government. During the democracy march on 1 July in Hong Kong, Chan told the press that election of the chief executive is currently decided just by the vote of 800 delegates, most of them chosen by Beijing.

Chan's decision means the democrats and their allies will have to field another candidate if they wish to contest the election. A source from the democrats said: "No one in the Democratic Party or the Civic Party can match her weight."

According to the Hong Kong daily, at this afternoon's press conference, Anson Chan will announce the main members of a core group to push for the development of universal suffrage and good governance.

Anson Chan, a 66-year-old Catholic, was the first Chinese in Hong Kong to play a role in the leadership of the British colony. In 1992, the last English governor, Chris Patten, wanted her to be secretary general. When Hong Kong was returned to China, the new chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, had her confirmed in the post of secretary.

Much loved by all, firm in her principles, intelligent, efficient, the population of the territory has always hoped to elect her as governor, especially after the management failures of Tung. In 2001, without making any fuss, she handed in her resignation. She has always fought for the autonomy of Hong Kong guaranteed by the Basic Law (one country, two systems), undersigned by Beijing. After years of silence she reappeared in public some months ago to take part in a march on 5 December last.

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