May 8, 2022: A Hong Kong committee has elected an official who oversaw a crackdown on the city’s democracy movement as its next chief executive.
John Lee won 1,416 votes of approval from the 1,500-strong Election Committee on Sunday. Eight voted against him.
His election places a security official in Hong Kong’s top job for the first time.
The former secretary for security in Hong Kong ran under the slogan “Starting a new chapter for Hong Kong together” and was the sole candidate in the polls.
Chinese authorities say the law is necessary to restore stability after protracted pro-democracy protests in 2019. Beijing hailed the near-unanimous result on Sunday saying it showed “Hong Kong society has a high level of recognition and approval” for Lee.
Sunday’s vote followed major changes to Hong Kong’s electoral laws last year to ensure that only “patriots” loyal to Beijing can hold office. The legislature was meanwhile reorganised to all but eliminate opposition voices.
As the Election Committee gathered to cast their ballots on Sunday morning, three members of the League of Social Democrats, a local activist group, protested the election by attempting to march towards the poll venue while displaying a banner demanding universal suffrage that would allow Hong Kong residents to vote both for the legislature and the chief executive.
In his election campaign in the weeks leading up to the polls, Lee pledged to enact more national security laws for Hong Kong and promised to increase the housing supply in the world’s most expensive real estate market.
He also said he would improve the city’s competitiveness and set a firm foundation for Hong Kong’s development.
Lee will replace current leader Carrie Lam on July 1.
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