The democratic camp has seized a record quarter of the seats in the committee that will go on to pick Hong Kong’s next leader in March, while Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah resigned yesterday.
“Mr Tsang will proceed on leave tomorrow. During this period, the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Chan Ka-keung, will be the acting financial secretary,” the government said.
The resignation paved the way for Tsang’s leadership bid. He has topped the popularity ratings for months, pipping other likely contenders for the chief executive post such as government No 2 Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.
Only retired judge Woo Kwok-hing has declared his desire to run for the top job. New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee was expected to announce her bid on Thursday.
The election committee poll’s results saw pan-democratic candidates take all the seats in the legal, IT, education, higher education, health services and welfare subsectors. They also won landslide victories in the accountancy and architectural subsectors, and secured at least half of the seats in the engineering and medical subsectors.
But business sectors such as hotels, tourism and commerce continued to be dominated by pro-establishment forces and tycoons.
A key advocate of the so-called “ABC” – anyone but CY Leung – campaign, Liberal Party co-founder James Tien Pei-chun, was a big vote winner in the commercial sector, bagging more than 400 votes. This came despite the fact incumbent chief executive Leung Chun-ying already announced on Friday he would not seek re-election due to family reasons.
A summary of the formation of the committee that will select the city’s next leader:
- The 1,194-member Election Committee comprises 28 sectors.
- A total of 1,239 candidates ran for 733 seats in 25 sectors.
- The remaining 461 seats have either been returned uncontested or are held by ex officio members such as lawmakers in the Legislative Council.
- A record turnout of 46 per cent and a record number of voters at 107,000 out of a possible 230,000 cast their votes. The turnout rate was nearly 20 percentage points higher than that in the last committee election in 2011, when overall turnout was 27.6 per cent only.
- The election for Hong Kong’s chief executive, a position currently held by Leung, is scheduled for March 26, 2017.
- The contest is the first since the Occupy protests and the failure two years ago to introduce universal suffrage for the 2017 chief executive election.