HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) – Historic crowds shut down central Hong Kong for a second straight weekend on Sunday (June 16), calling on embattled leader Carrie Lam to step aside. There’s one problem: Nobody seems quite sure who should replace her.
While Mrs Lam may have underestimated the opposition to her extradition Bill, her task was complicated by the requirement to serve two masters – Hong Kong and Beijing – without a public vote to provide a mandate.
Thousands of protesters who turned out on Sunday – organisers put the number at around two million people – said that Mrs Lam’s days were numbered even after she “paused” a Bill that would, for the first time, allow extraditions to China.
The protesters are aiming to knock out Mrs Lam in a show of people power that has gripped the world, embarrassing Beijing at a time when President Xi Jinping is engaged in an escalating economic fight with the Trump administration.
“There will be a period of time inserted before she makes some alternative excuse for stepping down,” Mr Webb told Bloomberg Television on Monday. “But any second term for her, which would start in 2022, is completely out of the question.”
Hong Kong is angry with Mrs Lam’s “arrogance” in refusing to withdraw the Bill entirely, said Mr Alan Leong, a former lawmaker and opposition candidate for chief executive.
“Even if she stays on, she can’t do anything for Hong Kong,” he said.
“She is absolutely a lame duck now.”