Hong Kong Public Affairs and Social Service Society

London School of Economics and Political Science Students' Union

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This website was launched in 2015 by Zoe Liu (Publications Officer 2015-16)

凝延 Moment in Time

We don’t remember days. We don’t remember details. We remember moments.

We remember the darkest moments that force us to see the light.

We remember the heartfelt moments that guide us to see the good.

Pause a little. Reflect a little. Pause and enjoy history unfolding before your eyes.

With this album we record those moments worth remembering.

Those moments that change the world.

No matter how big or how small.

Those moments that change you.

 

(N.B. LSESU HKPASS is a politically neutral society and any views expressed belong entirely to the author themselves.)

The 2017 Hong Kong Chief Executive Election was held on 26th March 2017, electing our 4th Chief Executive of Hong Kong. Former Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-Ngor has been elected as Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive, having won 777 votes from the 1,194-member Election Committee, while former Finance Chief John Tsang and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing garnered 365 and 21 votes respectively.

 

No matter where you stood, no matter who you supported, the 26th of March is a moment in time that will stay in the hearts of Hong Kong people for a long long time.

 

Here are some facts of the election that may help you see it in its entirety.

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-Ngor has been elected as Hong Kong’s next chief executive, having won 777 votes from the 1,194-member Election Committee, defeating former finance chief John Tsang and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, who garnered 365 and 21 votes respectively.

 

Lam captured the support of the majority of the Election Committee, given its mostly pro-establishment composition. Most of the 326 pan-democrat election committee members had pledged their support for Tsang.

 

Election Committee members casted their votes between 9am and 11am Sunday morning at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.

The latest polling data from HKUPOP (20-24/3) putting John Tsang’s support rate at 56%, way beyond Carrie Lam’s 29% and Woo Kwok-hing’s 9%; while election results put John Tsang’s percentage of vote as 31.38%, behind Carrie Lam’s 66.81%.

 

These results contrasts greatly with the findings of the last four chief executive elections, where the winners were candidates with the highest ratings in opinion polls. Previous chief executive Leung Chun-Ying has a 48% support rate, way above his competitor Henry Tang Ying-yen’s 35%. The first CE Tung Chee-hwa had a support rate of 64.5% while Donald Tsang had rating of 72.3% when sworn in, representing a trend that has seemingly been broken with the election of Carrie Lam.

 

Dr. Clifford Young puts this juxtaposition between polls and results best into words, drawing comparisons between HK and United States’ electoral system -- “it is not the popular votes that actually vote for the president, it is the electoral college (...) who cares about the popular vote?” he said. He argued that Hong Kong’s next CE would be chosen by professional and business elite whose values deviated greatly from the wider public, so public opinion would have little impact on the end result. Yet, public opinion is not entirely inconsequential; analysis of HKUPOP data as well as observations of CE performance clearly picture the correlational relationship between popular support and ease of rule -- the more support there is for the government, the easier it is to govern. However, it is perhaps significant to note that Lam was once one of the most popular government officials with high approval ratings before they plunged as a result of controversies regarding the Political reform. How Lam tackles the city’s divide in opinion without a ‘honeymoon period’ that comes in tandem with popular support, remains to be seen.

Let’s break down the post-election reactions:

 

Carrie Lam

“(I) have learnt so much more and know my shortcomings”

First priority is “mending social rifts”

“The principle of my cabinet formation is (...) without regard to political camps”

She recognises that “the most vocal ones are the youth”

“Deeds speak louder than words”

“I will encourage more women to join politics”

“To safeguard one country two systems and uphold our core values”

“Give me a chance and give me time”

 

John Tsang

“What we left behind is not a legacy to be forgotten but hopes for a better future”

“Hong Kong People, you’ve made me a better person”

“I’m sorry that I have not been able to meet your expectations”

“I lost this election. But Hong Kong didn’t lose”

“But please, do not lose heart in Hong Kong.  Because I believe in you. Because I believe in Hong Kong.”

“If we don’t dream on, the dream may never come true. I’m sure the dream will come true one day”

“Even if (Lam is) a dictator, I hope (she is) an amiable dictator”

 

Woo Kwok-Hing

‘I never estimated how many votes I could get, and 21 is really good”

“I am deeply thankful to the 21 voters, who are people who stuck with their principles and voted with their consciences.”

“I look at the values of this 71 year old -- never- vague, never- afraid, blunt and honest with the drive to always move forward;  I hope these values -- his attitude, would prove to inspire a new generation of Hong Kong people.”

Who exactly is Carrie Lam? The next CE has little time to waste given the wealth of problems she has promised to tackle in her manifesto, ranging from skyrocketing property prices to the widening income inequality.

 

Yet one has to hope that Lam’s decades of civil service experience would aid her in her quest to fix Hong Kong. Having graduated from the University of Hong Kong, Lam was made social welfare director having spent almost seven years in the finance bureau working on budget planning and expenditure control. She then introduced several reforms, including the controversial tightening of the social security assistance scheme. She also gained the nickname of ‘good fighter’ following her handling of the demolition of Queen’s Pier during her tenure as Secretary of Development. Having been appointed as the Chief Secretary under Leung Chun-Ying’s administration, she held talks with the large-scale occupation protests in 2014 and headed the Task Force on Constitutional Development on the political reform during 2013 to 2015. She will be the first female head of Hong Kong.

 

In her election manifesto, Lam promised to strengthen ties with foreign governments, while proposing the establishment of new Culture and Tourism Bureaus, as well as splitting the Transport and Housing Bureau into two. She also proposed to lower MTR train fares through usage of MTR’s dividends payable to the government, which currently stands at around 4 billion HKD each year. Lam’s manifesto also included promises to abolish the much-maligned territory wide system assessment for Primary 3 students, as well as allowing Home Ownership Scheme owners to rent out their flats through social enterprises, even if they have not paid their premium. Regarding the youth, who she described as ‘most vocal’ in her victory speech, Lam proposed to add 20-30 young members to the reformed Central Policy Unit, with the aim of including youth voices in the formation of cross-departmental policies.