Leung Chun Ying

In control

PUBLISHED : Monday, 11 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 11 June, 2012, 12:00am


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A friend mentioned that the year 2012 seems to be a good one for 'political avengers'. It does seem that way: within the last three months, we've seen Aung San Suu Kyi, Francois Hollande and Hong Kong's very own Leung Chun-ying.

Leung, who has always been the underdog, from whom Beijing withheld its anointment until the 11th hour, had never been shy about the fact that he was eyeing the city's top job.

Many knew he was serious, but only a few thought he had any serious chance of winning. But the 'unlikely' candidate interestingly mattered enough early on, in 2009, to be the subject of a mud-slinging campaign over whether he was a card-carrying Communist Party member.

Leung had the audacity to run against a presumably pre-selected, 'predestined' favourite, and won the job. In just three weeks, Leung will have control. To be sure, he has been ready for a long time. The real question is: are we ready?

It's obvious that Leung has more than a few ideas on running Hong Kong. Having watched the previous two administrations, as the convenor of the Executive Council, he probably did have the perfect post for someone with ambitions for the chief executive office.

He also had the benefit of not being tied down with running a bureau and was insulated from the kind of political heat that could really burn.

His challenge now is whether he can carry the way he conducted his campaign - appealing to the common folk and garnering his own public support to outmanoeuvre political opponents - into the office he has won and the administration he will lead.

Given the public's thirst for change, he will have to deliver. Exactly how, is a question he seems to be mulling.

During his campaign, he has proved to be a master of making livelihood issues springboards from which he could captivate an audience. Slogans must now mean more than just a nice-sounding wish.

His election platform calling for change may have won over many people, but his team had got itself into more than a bind or two lately for pushing too hard, causing eyebrows to be raised over whether Leung the chief executive would trade inclusiveness for efficiency, and opt to antagonise dissenters rather than seek co-operation.

He told this paper last week that he won't wait for his maiden policy address in October before rolling out his policies. He has been very vocal and has gone on the offensive even before his term commences.

It would be naive to think that the opposition's threat of delaying his government restructure has made him panic in any way. It would take quite a lot more to make him lose his temper, I figure. He was up against some pretty bad odds and it would just seem so out of character for Leung to be threatened by a few rowdy legislators.

Let's not forget that he has been at this city's political centre for decades now. He has watched the politics that were at play and it's going to take a lot more than the usual suspects filing debate motions and meaningless amendments - or even hurling things at him - to shake him.

Alice Wu is a political consultant and a former associate director of the Asia Pacific Media Network at UCLA