Hong Kong has elected a career public servant backed by Beijing as its next chief executive in a tightly controlled vote two years after widespread protests calling for greater democracy without interference from mainland China.
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Hong Kong’s newly elected chief executive, during an election debate on March 14.
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who served as the No. 2 official under the outgoing chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, had been nominated by all 51 electors representing China's top political advisory body and won 777 of the 1,194 Election Committee votes.
Lam has promised to focus on economic growth and housing and education reforms. She defeated second-placed John Tsang Chun-wah, the administrative territory's former financial secretary, who had attracted support from pro-democracy campaigners and had called for reforms that would ultimately bring in universal suffrage and tackle income inequality.
All candidates participating in the vote were approved by Beijing, which assumed control of the territory from the U.K. in 1997. The chief executive is the highest-ranking official in the special administrative region and chairs the policymaking Executive Council.
Lam enjoyed the backing of the city’s business elite and was widely tipped to win the election after garnering 580 committee nominations by late February to enter the race, compared with Tsang's 160. The Election Committee is made up of delegates from 38 subsectors representing different stakeholders and industries, most of whom, critics say, are Beijing loyalists.
In 2014, the so-called Umbrella Revolution protests brought tens of thousands of people onto the streets of Hong Kong, with activists demanding the right to pick their candidate for chief executive without interference from Beijing. Government officials in Hong Kong and the mainland called the protests illegal and made no concessions to the activists.