2

According to :h hit-enter, a message is shown when there is something on the screen to read and the screen is about to be redrawn. For example,

- After executing an external command (e.g., ":!ls" and "=").
- Something is displayed on the status line that is longer than the width of
  the window, or runs into the 'showcmd' or 'ruler' output.

When the :h hit-enter prompt is shown, the user can press <Enter> or <Space> to redraw the screen. The user can also press : or any other Normal mode command character to start that command.

Now,I have grown accustomed to a keybinding that lets me use <Space>; as :

nnoremap <Leader>; :
xnoremap <Leader>; :

I was hoping I could use <Space>; as : when the :h hit-enter message is shown.

2

No, the mappings for the pager are hard-coded. See wait_return() in message.c:

/*
 * If the user hits ':', '?' or '/' we get a command line from the next
 * line.
 */
if (c == ':' || c == '?' || c == '/')

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