Chief Secretary John Lee on Wednesday officially announced his intention to run in the upcoming chief executive election.
Lee tendered his resignation to Chief Executive Carrie Lam earlier in the day, and took leave with immediate effect.
During a brief meet-the-press session just hours after stepping down, Lee told reporters that he plans to run for the top job after his resignation is approved by the central government.
"If my resignation is approved, I shall plan to prepare to stand for the upcoming chief executive election," he said.
He thanked Lam for appointing him as secretary for security in July 2017, and as chief secretary in June last year.
"I thank the people of Hong Kong. Having been in the government for over 40 years, to serve the people of Hong Kong is a glory," he added, while also thanking his colleagues in the government, lawmakers, as well as members of the civil service.
Lee did not elaborate on his upcoming plans, saying only that he will announce his next move after his resignation is officially approved.
According to current rules, an election hopeful must receive at least 188 nominations from Election Committee members, with not less than 15 from each of the five sectors.
Nomination for the CE race runs till April 16, and the 1,500-strong Election Committee will select the city’s next leader on May 8.