Politics | Will there be a miracle in election for Hong Kong’s next boss?
Carrie Lam (L) and John Tsang (R) will compete for Hong Kong's top job on Sunday. Photo: Facebook/ John Tsang/ Carrie Lam
Carrie Lam (L) and John Tsang (R) will compete for Hong Kong's top job on Sunday. Photo: Facebook/ John Tsang/ Carrie Lam

Will there be a miracle in election for Hong Kong’s next boss?

The name of the city’s next leader is pretty much written on the wall, but many residents are still wishing for an extraordinary result

March 24, 2017 6:10 AM (UTC+8)

The name of the next Chief Executive in Hong Kong is pretty much written on the wall, but many Hong Kong people are stilling wishing for a miracle.

Former chief secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, backed by the central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong and the pro-establishment camp, is likely to become the city’s first woman leader and the fourth chief executive since the handover to China 20 years ago, according to some local media.

She is likely to get more than half of the votes from the 1,194 election committee members over her rivals – former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing. The winner must secure at least 601 votes.

Tsang, backed by pan-democrats and with a better popularity based ona number of opinion polls, may get more than 400 votes, which is still far behind Lam.

The so-called race between Lam and Tsang has been under the media spotlight. In the beginning, the hot favorite Lam, who quit her post after 34 years in the civil service, showed her naivety in what the average middle or working class resident in Hong Kong does every day.

On January 20, she fumbled her way onto the MTR after failing to work out how to use an Octopus card – effectively a stored-value smart ticket. News footage showed that Lam did not know how to use the turnstile. During a visit to Ap Lei Chau, Lam tried to pass through a turnstile but did not realize she could proceed after putting her octopus card over it. An assistant told her: “It’s ok, you can pass” and gave her a slight push.

And three days later, she showed how out of touch she was with ordinary Hongkongers such as shopping for toilet paper. She said she had to take a taxi to her old residence at The Peak to get toilet paper when she realized that she had none in the serviced apartment she just moved into.

By contrast, the underdog Tsang showed that he had the charisma – and the quality – of a seasoned politician winning over many Hong Kong people’s hearts in his two month campaign.

Read: Wanted – Outstanding candidate to run Asian financial hub

It is important to note here that ordinary people don’t really get a vote, so why bother? Well the farce continued with two televised debates.

Tsang was adamant in suggesting that Lam would be “CY Leung 2.0” and she would continue to divide society.

But after all, the issue lies in whom Beijing trusts in exercising control in Hong Kong in the next five years, while President Xi Jinping and Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing remain overwhelmingly influential in terms of which way the election committee sways.

Read: How Hong Kong’s next top leader is chosen

Xi is neutral among the three pro-establishment candidates, Metro Daily reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources.

Li hinted at his preference on Wednesday, but he declined to say directly who he will vote for on Sunday.

The richest man in town said Hong Kong needed a leader who would communicate well with Beijing, and steer a new direction for the city, where it was troubled by internal conflicts in the past five years.

Li suggested he would go for a “goddess-like” candidate such as Nuwa. So who might this be? In ancient Chinese mythology, Nuwa, also known as Nugua, is a goddess who fixed the pillars of heaven, patched up the sky and saved the world from chaos.

Read: Carrie Lam’s clean desk compliment backfires

He declined to say whether he preferred a female chief executive, but said that there was no male version of Nuwa.

Some pundits interpreted Li’s remarks as kowtowing to Beijing, but others say he was only pretending to support Lam.

Be patient. The answer will be unveiled on Sunday.

 

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