Hong Kong Financial Secretary Tsang resigns to run for chief executive job

Reuters with CNBC
Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah reacts during a press conference in the Central Governement office in Hong Kong on September 21, 2016.
Anthony Wallace | AFP | Getty Images

Hong Kong's Financial Secretary John Tsang has resigned his post pending an announcement he will run for the city's top job next March.

A press release from the website of the Hong Kong government stated that current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying received Tsang's resignation today.

The Chief Executive, Mr C Y Leung, today (December 12) received the resignation tendered by the Financial Secretary, Mr John C Tsang, and has submitted it to the Central People's Government.

Mr Tsang will proceed on leave tomorrow. During this period, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Professor K C Chan, will be the Acting Financial Secretary.

The resignation ends months of speculation on whether 65-year-old Tsang, currently topping popularity polls, wanted to run for Chief Executive of Hong Kong. It comes after unpopular incumbent Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying announced last Friday that he would not stand for a second five-year term.

Affectionately known as "Uncle Pringles" for his signature moustache, the U.S.-educated lover of fencing and martial arts has served as the former British colony's finance minister since July 2007.

Candidates running for Chief Executive have to be vetted by a 1,200-strong Election Committee, which will be formed in December. The same committee will decide who will lead the city of 7.2 million people in late March.

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