John Lee scores sweeping win in Hong Kong vote

John Lee waves to people after winning the election of the sixth-term chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on May 8, 2022. - Xinhua

HONG KONG (China Daily/Asia News Network): John Lee scored a resounding victory in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's election on Sunday (May 8), becoming the SAR's sixth-term chief executive-elect.

The former chief secretary won 1,416 votes, about 99 per cent of the Election Committee members who cast their ballots, and far surpassing the threshold of 750 votes needed to win the election.

Lee is expected to take office on July 1, after being appointed by the central government, and will serve a five-year term.

Meeting with the media after winning the election, Lee said that in the next five years he will firmly safeguard the nation's core interests and the rule of law, and he will protect the city from internal and external threats to ensure its long-term stability.

Lee said he will prioritise tackling the most pressing issues-such as housing, healthcare and youth development-to build a caring, inclusive society, and to enhance upward mobility for the younger generation.

He vowed to proactively integrate the city into national development and expand its international connectivity to further consolidate its advantages and explore new opportunities.

Lee said he looks forward to starting a new chapter with Hong Kong communities and to building a caring, open and vibrant city that is full of hope, opportunities and harmony.

Hong Kong has accumulated many advantages since its return to the motherland, but internal frictions and external intervention brought chaos and hampered its development, he said.

Lee said that his government will be determined to confront the deeply entrenched issues that have faced Hong Kong for many years, take decisive steps and adopt efficient and effective actions to resolve them.

"I know there will be a lot of difficulties, but I still want to serve the city, as everything I have was given by the city," he said.

Going from being "a nobody" to his current position, Lee said, he got the rare opportunity to serve the city's communities.

He spoke of the election campaign as an "incredibly rewarding, inspiring and memorable experience", and he expressed gratitude to the people who have supported him and said that he is fully confident that he and his experienced team will lead the city toward a brighter future.

Lee stressed that his most urgent task is selecting proper candidates to form the new government.

Lee said he will invite capable and experienced patriots who have the passion and commitment to join his governing team.

Although he will take office in only two months, Lee said, he is confident that the city has many professionals who aspire to serve Hong Kong under the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong".

He said his administration will work together with the Legislative Council to raise the city's governance capability.

A groundswell of support poured in after Lee was elected by an enormous margin.

The Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said the election has again demonstrated the advancement and advantages of the city's improved electoral system. It believes the city will achieve greater success from the new starting point.

The central government's liaison office in Hong Kong said the election has further implemented the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong", and it hailed the result as another successful example of exploring a democratic path with Hong Kong characteristics.

Incumbent Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that together with Lee, she and her government will ensure a seamless transition and render all the support needed for the new administration to take office.

Major business groups, including the Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, and the Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association, expressed confidence that Lee can unite all parties in strengthening Hong Kong's overall competitiveness and bringing long-term prosperity to the city.

Election Committee member Patrick Healy, who is also chairman of Cathay Pacific Airways, said after voting on Sunday that Lee is very competent for the city's top job.

He expects Lee will deliver a bright future for Hong Kong, ensure a smooth recovery from the pandemic, and deepen the city's integration into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. He also hopes Hong Kong will maintain stability and security in the next 25 years.

Another committee member, Ng Hok-ming, who chairs the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Youth Association, said Lee's manifesto is very practical and has painted a rosy picture for the city's young people and charted a clear development path for them.

With these initiatives, he said that under Lee's leadership, more young people will have opportunities for upward mobility and brighter development prospects.

Lee will deliver a bright future for Hong Kong, ensure a smooth recovery from the pandemic, and deepen the city's integration into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

The election also pulled at the heartstrings of many ordinary city residents, such as retired construction technician Chan Woo-fat, 71.

Chan arrived at the polling station at 8am on Sunday, an hour before the election began, to witness the moment. He brought a miniature national flag with him and was delighted to see Lee win. He expects the city's residents to enjoy a happy life under Lee's leadership.

Lee, 64, has been in public service for about 45 years and has held various posts in the government. He was appointed secretary for security in 2017 and promoted to chief secretary in June 2021.

In recent years, Lee has dealt with many major events, including handling the 2019 social unrest, the fight against COVID-19 and the improvement to the HKSAR's electoral system. In handling such matters, he has taken a firm stand and been dedicated to his duty.

Lee announced his bid for the city's top job on April 9 and eventually secured 786 nominations from Election Committee members.

He has exchanged opinions with people from various sectors since joining the race. Besides holding numerous meetings with industry leaders, he also invited members of the general public to leave comments online, and he reached out to communities to listen to the demands of grassroots residents.

More than 47,000 views and suggestions were collected from HK residents through an online platform.

Lee said he would adopt result-oriented approaches, tackle deep-seated social problems and make the city more competitive.

Later he also announced his political platform, which prioritizes the work in four areas-strengthening governance, boosting housing and land supply, improving the city's competitiveness and building a caring society that aids young people moving up the social ladder.

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