Leader of Hong Kong will not seek another term following difficult five years

Carrie Lam made the announcement Monday.
Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced Monday that she will not seek a second term in office, following five rocky years.

Among her challenges were major protests calling for her resignation, a security crackdown from mainland China that has limited Hong Kong's independence and pro-Democracy path, and a recent COVID-19 wave that has overwhelmed the city's health care system.

The next leader of Hong Kong will be chosen in May. 

"I will complete my five-year term as chief executive on the 30th of June this year, and I will also call an end to my 42 years of public service," Liam said. The 64-year-old also said her "sole consideration" in the matter is a desire to spend more time with her family. 

Lam's popularity drastically declined over the course of her five year term, particularly as Beijing moved toward seizing control of the city, explicitly breaking the promise it made to give Hong Kong the power to govern itself semi-autonomously for 50 years after being returned to China in 1997. 

Another turning point occurred in 2019, when Lam supported legislation that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial. Mass protests that sometimes included clashes between citizens and the police ensued. 

Lam later supported the aggressive national security law that was viewed as an official end to the "on country, two systems" paradigm that went into effect following 1997. Since the implementation of the law, free press and free expression have been severely limited in Hong Kong. 

Though Lam's decisions have directly led to the elimination of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong, she and the central Chinese government say their actions have restored stability in the city. 

The leader of Hong Kong is elected by a committee comprised of lawmakers, industry representatives, and high-ranking members of the Hong Kong government apparatus. The new leader is scheduled to be chosen on May 8.