Leung Wins Hong Kong Election

Leung Chun-ying has won the election for Hong Kong’s Chief Executive following a campaign marked by scandals and protests. Only 1,193 representatives from various sectors of society are entitled to vote, which spurred protests from democracy advocates demanding full universal suffrage. Leung is a real estate surveyor and former convener of the Executive Council of Hong Kong who had been favored by Beijing. The New York Time reports:

Mr. Leung won on the first ballot, receiving 689 votes, after Beijing’s representatives here put heavy pressure on electors in the final week of the race to support him. He is a populist on economic issues, but has a reputation for having a limited tolerance of democracy and public demonstrations. Mr. Leung says, however, that he favors allowing all adults in Hong Kong to vote for the chief executive, but has been vague on whether candidates opposed by Beijing would be allowed on the ballot.

Henry Tang, a longtime politician from a family of Shanghai garment makers, was the early favorite, but then stumbled after acknowledging marital infidelity and the construction of a secret basement under a family villa without government permits or the payment of real estate taxes. He received 285 votes.

Albert Ho, the chairman of the opposition Democratic Party, finished a distant third, with 76 votes.

Roughly one-tenth of the ballots were blank or otherwise voided. The pro-democracy Civic Party, usually a Democratic Party ally, had urged electors to cast blank ballots to protest the lack of broader democracy.

Bloomberg has more on the issues facing Leung as he takes office:

Leung, who will begin his five-year term on July 1, will need to address public anger over rising living cost spawned by an influx of money from mainland China and eight years of rising property prices that have made Hong Kong the world’s most expensive place to buy a home. The former government adviser must also start preparing for the day in 2017 when China, which inherited rule of Hong Kong from Britain 15 years ago, is expected to allow the city’s people to elect their own leaders.

“The next leader will need to address the housing problem, the affordability issues as well as bringing sustainable economic growth to Hong Kong,” William Fung, executive deputy chairman of retailer Li & Fung Ltd. (494), said before the results.

Read more about the election via CDT.

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