Lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee Photo: Facebook / Regina Ip
Lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee Photo: Facebook / Regina Ip

Legislative councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee withdraws from the race to become Hong Kong’s next leader after failing to secure the support required to get on the ballot for Chief Executive election.

A 1,200-strong committee will vote to choose the leader of the Asian financial hub for the next five years on March 26. Candidates had to secure 150 nominations from the committee by March 1 to put their names on the ballot.

Former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, retired justice Woo Kwok-hing and former chief secretary for administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor are the only three to contest the race, after Ip dropped out on Wednesday afternoon.

“I can’t continue my campaign,” Ip told the press at her campaign office. “I’m sorry to tell my supporters and my team that the number of nominations I secured falls short of the threshold.”

She refused to disclose the exact number of nominations she did secure.

“I think I failed to get in the game because of the limitation of our system,” said Ip, adding that she was squeezed out since three candidates from the pro-establishment camp had entered the race.

The chairwoman of the New People’s Party said she expected a miracle last week, only to find four of her few supporters had backed Lam, the candidate Beijing has blessed, according to media reports. Beijing loyalists still dominate the election committee with three quarters of the seats. Average Hong Kong citizens are excluded from voting.

This is Ip’s second attempt to run for the Chief Executive election, and she again failed to obtain enough support.

In 2003, the then Secretary for Security resigned from her position after she failed to push forward the legislation of Article 23 of the Basic Law regarding national security. She has served as a lawmaker since 2008.

Accused of racism

In April 2015, she was criticized by Hong Kong’s Filipino community after she wrote a controversial commentary in Ming Pao. She said many Filipino domestic helpers are being “turned into sexual resources for male foreigners in Hong Kong.”

She declined to apologize and said, “Why should I apologize for showing concern?”

She apologized a week after publication of the commentary as domestic worker groups protested outside her Wan Chai office.