Carrie Lam on Sunday became the first woman to be elected Hong Kong’s Chief Executive. The selection was made by a 1,200-member election committee made up of Beijing loyalists, Reuters reported.
The former deputy leader received 777 votes out of 1,194 members who participated in the voting process. Other contenders in the race were former finance chief John Tsang and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing. Lam will succeed current leader Leung Chun-ying, who is expected to step down in July.
Hong Kong’s leader is chosen by a committee made up of pro-Beijing members instead of a public vote. The election committee has representatives belonging to a number of sectors, from business to education, reported Channel NewsAsia.
Pro-democracy groups have protested against the election as Tsang was considered the public’s favourite, BBC reported. Protestors gathered near the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre to stage demonstrations and shouted “Oppose central authority appointment, we choose our own government!”, reported AFP. Lam has said she would focus on social issues such as poverty and housing to build a consensus in her favour.
In 2014, Lam had faced protests after she tried to defend Beijing’s concessions for political reform according to which Hong Kong’s electorate could choose their own leader but only after China had pre-approved the candidates. Under the ‘Umbrella Revolution’, protestors had agitated against China’s “increasing interference that has been stifling dissent and Beijing’s decision to vet potential candidates for the elections”.
The control over the former British colony was returned to Beijing in 1997 with a “one country, two systems” agreement, which allowed the territory to remain autonomous with certain restrictions for 50 years.