The honorary chairman of the Liberal Party, James Tien, has urged Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down, saying she needs to resolve Hong Kong's political crisis and will be unable to govern effectively for the remainder of her term.
Mr Tien was speaking after a Reuters report quoted people close to the SAR and central governments as saying Beijing had effectively blocked Lam's plan to end the protest by conceding to two of the protesters' key demands: the full withdrawal of the extradition bill and a commission of inquiry.
"The only thing that we see that's possible is for [Lam] to withdraw the bill and form the independent commission of inquiry," Tien said. "And if Beijing doesn't allow her to do that, she should tell Beijing: I'm really sorry, I can't do my job any more, because this is the only way I can see to contain the vast majority of Hong Kong people's aspirations.
"If I cannot do that, how can I continue to be an effective chief executive? I mean even if this crisis is over, I can't see how she can govern Hong Kong in the next two or three years."
Tien also called on the chief executive to confirm that she would not attempt to use sweeping emergency powers. Lam had earlier this week left open the possibility that she would consider utilising the colonial-era Emergency Regulations Ordinance.
But Tien said using the laws, which allow for the seizure of private assets, would undermine business confidence in the SAR.