After presiding over one of the most tumultuous periods in Hong Kong's modern history - during which Beijing reasserted its control over the city following a massive pro-democracy protest movement (in defiance of international law) before its COVID mortality rate skyrocketed to one of the highest in the world - Hong Kong President Carrie Lam announced Monday that she would not be seeking re-election following her five-year tenure at the city's helm.
According to the SCMP, Lam - derided by detractors as the "piglet" to President Xi's "Winnie the Pooh" - cited family reasons for her reason to step down as she announced her decision during her daily press conference on Monday.
"They think it is time for me to go home," she said. "Family is the most important part of me."
She thanked her loved ones, her team, her Executive Council, lawmakers and the central government for their support during her tenure...
"I will complete my five-year term as chief executive on June 30, and officially conclude my 42-year career in government," Lam told reporters at the 11am conference, usually meant for updates on the city’s pandemic management.
...while insisting that her decision to step down had "nothing" to do with her performance on the job.
"It’s not a question of evaluating my performance or the performance of the Hong Kong government in this term," she added. "This is a question of my personal wish and aspirations. My personal wish and aspirations are entirely based on my family’s consideration."
Lam's retirement has been a long time coming. It has been reported that she had informed Beijing of her wish to step down as far back as a year ago, during March of 2021, before that year's annual session of the National People’s Congress. Unfortunately for her, she was apparently ordered to hold off until now.
Monday’s announcement left No 2 government official Chief Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu has the clear front-runner.