Pro-democracy lawmaker Alan Leong said Wednesday he would make history by becoming the first politician on the ballot to challenge a Beijing-backed candidate in Hong Kong's leadership race.
Leong, who is also a lawyer, said he has received the 100 nominations he needs to be considered for the chief executive slot _ Hong Kong's top job. He will be the first challenger on the ballot since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule 10 years ago.
But Leong's chances of winning in March are slim. The leader is selected by an 800-member election committee that traditionally favors the Beijing-backed candidate. This time, the favorite to win is Donald Tsang, a career civil servant seeking a second term.
Though a long shot, Leong believes he has jumped the first hurdle by obtaining the required 100 nominations from the election committee.
Leong, 48, has argued that Hong Kong is ready for full democracy, but Beijing continues to be reluctant to allow the city's voters to directly elect their leader, or chief executive.
Hong Kong is governed under a "one country, two systems" principle designed to give the territory a wide degree of autonomy.
A lawyer for 24 years, Leong entered politics in 2004 when he was directly elected to the legislature. He is also a founding member of the Civic Party, a new political group led by professionals and academics.
Source: AP News