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Carrie Lam will become Hong Kong’s first female chief executive when she takes office on July 1.
The position was chosen by 1194 electors selected from Hong Kong’s 7.3 million population, most being influential business or political figures.
Lam won 777 of these electoral votes, although former financial secretary John Tsang polled more favourably among the public.
The electoral system in Hong Kong has been widely criticised by supporters of democracy. The New York Times reported that protesters outside the voting centre were blocked by police with metal barricades.
Protester Mabel Yau said, “China promised that Hong Kong people would run Hong Kong […] Today, only 1200 people are representing us in electing the chief executive. Is it fair?”
The unrest following Lam’s appointment stems from the failed attempt she led in 2014 to overhaul the city’s election process. The proposed reform would have allowed the chief executive be chosen by direct popular vote, but required candidates to be screened by Beijing before they appeared on the ballot — a restriction that rendered the “reform” ineffective, in the view of protesters at the time.
Since her appointment, Lam has been eager to prioritise a united Hong Kong.
“Hong Kong, our home, is suffering from quite a serious divisiveness,” she said in her victory speech. “My priority will be to heal the divide and to ease the frustration.”