China favorite Carrie Lam elected Hong Kong’s new leader

March 26, 2017 2:24 pm

Chief Executive candidates, from left, John Tsang, and Woo Kwok-hing attend a TV debate.

Former senior government
official Carrie Lam has been elected Hong Kong’s next leader by a
1,200-person committee amid competing rallies held outside the election
venue over ’s rule.

The 55-year-old former chief
secretary won 777 votes from the Election Committee on Sunday, becoming
the city’s first female leader.
Lam ran for the top post in the
Chinese-ruled financial hub of 7.3 million people against another former
official, John Tsang, and retired judge, Woo Kwok-hing.
Security
was tight around the venue with metal barricades and large numbers of
police deployed, keeping pro-Beijing groups and their rivals apart.  
Protesters denounced what they called Beijing’s interference, accusing China of lobbying the voters to back Lam.
Lam
is an efficient and pragmatic administrator but his detractors in Hong
Kong see her as a proxy for Beijing and out of touch with ordinary
people.
She will take over from current leader Leung Chun-ying who is not seeking a second term, citing family reasons.
Members
of the Election Committee included tycoons like Li Ka-shing, Hong
Kong’s richest person. Other members represented industry and trade
groups such as finance, accounting, real estate and textiles.

Election
Committee members cast their votes at the Hong Kong Convention and
Exhibition Center in Wan Chai, Hong Kong, March 26, 2017.Hong
Kong lawmakers, local councilors and delegates to China’s parliament
also have votes and some 326 seats are held by pro-independence
supporters.
Since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997,
Beijing has been walking a fine line for the administration of the
city under the formula of “one country, two systems.”
Pro-autonomy
groups, meanwhile, have tried to avoid the 2014 protests that pitted
young activists against the city’s Beijing-backed government, leaving
tensions over the city’s political reform.
Hong Kong’s proximity to China has been a boon for the city, bringing in Chinese investment and spending.
Businesses, however, have faced growing competition from mainland Chinese firms in core sectors like services and property.
Housing
prices, now among the world’s highest, are widely seen to have been
pushed up by an unrelenting wave of buying from rich Chinese,
intensifying anti-Beijing sentiment.

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