Author: Yang Sheng
Posted on: Global Times, December 12th, 2016
The election for the committee responsible for choosing the next chief executive of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) began on Sunday after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying declared Friday that he will not run for re-election.
He said he must take care of his family and prevent them from facing the unbearable pressure of campaigning if he runs for re-election, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
According to the BBC, five people are expected to run for Chief Executive: Ip Lau Suk-yee, a member of the Legislative Council; Finance Secretary Tsang Chun-wah; Tsang Yok-sing, the founding Chairman of the largest pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong; Chief Secretary Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor; and Woo Kwok-hing, former vice-president of the Court of Appeal of the High Court.
Tian Feilong, a legal expert and associate professor at Beihang University, told the Global Times that “two female candidates, Ip Lau and Lam Cheng, are the likely top candidates.”
Ip Lau is strongly against “Hong Kong independence,” while Lam Cheng prefers to solve political problems in a moderate way, Tian said.
Although Tsang Chun-wah is popular among the business elite, due to his experience as Private Secretary to the last UK Governor of Hong Kong, Chris Patten (who always supports anti-Beijing political movements in Hong Kong), he has not been considered as strong as the two ladies, Tian said.
“For all candidates, ‘love China and love Hong Kong’ is a basic norm, and Hong Kong society needs to choose based on this norm, and the central government will respect the result,” Zhang Dinghuai, a professor at the Shenzhen University College of Management, told the Global Times.
The Hong Kong Basic Law states that the chief executive shall be elected by a broadly representative Election Committee and appointed by the Central People’s Government. The committee is composed of 1,200 members from 38 subsectors, said Xinhua.
A total of 1,239 candidates are competing for 733 seats in 25 subsectors/sub-subsectors in Sunday’s polls. Up to 110 regular polling stations and two dedicated polling stations set up at police stations were open from 7:30 am to 10:30 pm local time for voters in the contested subsectors/ sub-subsectors, the report said.