Date
27 May 2017
Carrie Lam  captured about  67 percent of the vote, winning comfortably over John Tsang and Woo Kwok-hing. Photo: HKEJ
Carrie Lam captured about 67 percent of the vote, winning comfortably over John Tsang and Woo Kwok-hing. Photo: HKEJ

Lam wins by a wide margin

Capturing about 67 percent of the vote, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor won the election Sunday to become the first female chief executive of Hong Kong.

An Election Committee comprising about 1,200 members voted Sunday morning to select the city’s new CE.

Lam, the former chief secretary, secured 777 votes, according to an official announcement and has won on the first ballot.

Former financial secretary John Tsang took 365 votes while retired judge Woo Kwok-hing won 21 votes.

Lam, who will turn 60 in May, joined the civil service in 1980 after graduating from the University of Hong Kong, and has served in various positions including a stint as director of the Social Welfare Department.

In 2007, Lam was appointed secretary for development under the accountability system and later promoted to chief secretary in 2012.

Lam’s public image as a highly competent and no-nonsense civil servant largely stems from her decision to implement one-off subsidy payments, regardless of fierce opposition from some quarters, during her term as director of the Social Welfare Department.

Her image as an “iron lady” took hold even further among the public after she had rejected calls from heritage conservation groups for preservation of the Queen’s Pier in 2007, and refused to back down over the issue of banning illegal structures in village houses across the New Territories, despite a fierce backlash from indigenous clans, in 2011.

In 2015, amid a lead-water contamination scandal in several public housing estates, Lam once again sparked controversy by ordering officials not to succumb to pressure from angry residents and drink contaminated water in public to prove that it was safe because, as she put it, government officials must never be publicly humiliated.

Lam said on different occasions over the last couple of years that she would never run for chief executive, but she did a sudden about-face and said she felt compelled to reconsider the matter after incumbent leader Leung Chun-ying announced last December that he will not seek a second term.

On January 12, Lam tendered her resignation as chief secretary and declared her candidacy for CE. Her resignation, along with that of former financial secretary John Tsang, was approved by the central authorities on January 16.

Members of Lam’s star-studded campaign team included Ronald Arculli, former chairman of the Hong Kong Stock Exchange; Laura Cha Shih May-lung, an incumbent Executive Councillor; Moses Cheng Mo-chi, chairman of the Independent Insurance Authority; and Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, sitting member of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.

Carrie Lam’s election platform:

On political reform:
– Proceed with caution since it is a highly polarizing issue
– Strive to create a social atmosphere that allows constructive dialogue on the issue under the framework of the “831 decision” made by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.

On housing and land:
– Build new homes available exclusively to local first-time homebuyers
– Increase the supply of flats under the Green Form Subsidized Home Ownership Scheme
– Allow Home Ownership Scheme flat owners to rent out their properties through social enterprises
– Explore more brownfield sites to boost land supply

On universal retirement protection:
– Gather public views on whether to revoke the MPF hedging mechanism
– Fine-tune the existing MPF scheme and study the feasibility of establishing public annuity scheme

On education:
– Divert an extra HK$5 billion into education annually
– Scrap the TSA test for primary 3 students

On tax reform:
– Introduce a two-tier profits tax system

On Article 23 of the Basic Law:
– Legislating for Article 23 of the Basic Law is a constitutional duty of the government. Authorities must however weigh the pros and cons and act cautiously in order to create the right social conditions for legislation

– Contact us at [email protected]

RT/RC/RA

EJ Insight writer

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