Her time in office will likely be remembered as a turning point during which Beijing firmly established control over the former British colony, which was returned to China in 1997. For years, the city rocked back and forth between calls for more freedom and growing signs of China extending its reach, chipping away at a promise by the mainland government to give Hong Kong the power to govern itself semi-autonomously for 50 years.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Monday she wouldn’t seek a second term after a rocky five years marked by huge protests calling for her resignation, a security crackdown that has quashed dissent and most recently a COVID-19 wave that overwhelmed the health system, AP reports.

Her successor will be picked in May, with the city’s hard-line security chief during the 2019 protests seen as a likely choice.

“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,” Lam said at a news conference. The 64-year-old career civil servant said she plans to spend more time with her family, which is her “sole consideration.”

Speculation had swirled for months about whether she would seek another term, and she repeatedly declined to comment on the possibility. But on Monday, she said her decision had been conveyed to the central government in Beijing last year and was met with “respect and understanding.”

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