Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying (L) and Financial Secretary John Tsang see their political futures going in different directions. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

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

A government statement said Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had received the resignation and has notified the central government.

The resignation ends months of speculation on whether 65-year-old Tsang, currently topping popularity polls in the city, wanted to run for chief executive of Hong Kong.

It comes after the unpopular incumbent announced last Friday that he would not stand for a second five-year term, citing family reasons.

The US-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 to be formed this month. The same committee will decide who will lead the city of 7.2 million people in late March.

So far only one candidate has officially declared his intention to run for Hong Kong’s top job, retired judge Woo Kwok-hing.