Carrie Lam

Central government signs off on Carrie Lam’s appointment as Hong Kong’s next chief executive

Premier says incoming chief executive will ‘unite and lead’ city

PUBLISHED : Friday, 31 March, 2017, 11:21pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 April, 2017, 12:12am

Premier Li Keqiang has expressed confidence that Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor can unite Hong Kong as the central government on Friday appointed her to become the city’s next chief executive on July 1.

“The election result in favour of Lam fully reflects the widespread recognition, trust and ­expectation across all sectors in Hong Kong society,” Li told a State Council meeting on Friday.

Li said: “The [central authorities] believe that after she becomes chief executive, she will definitely be able to unite and lead the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and people from all walks of life in Hong Kong.”

The premier also called for “concrete measures” from Lam to deepen Hong Kong’s collaboration with the mainland.

Lam expressed her gratitude for the appointment, adding: “I will do my utmost with humility to implement the principle of ‘one country, two systems’, ‘Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong’ and a high degree of autonomy strictly in accordance with the Basic Law.”

Under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, the central government appoints the city’s leader after they have been picked by the Election Committee.

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Lam won 777 votes from the 1,194-member Election Committee on Sunday, while her closest rival John Tsang Chun-wah won 365 and former judge Woo Kwok-hing got 21 votes.

Li described the election as “open, fair and just” and conducted in accordance with Beijing’s decisions and Hong Kong laws, thereby dismissing accusations that Lam had an unfair edge as mainland officials lobbied various quarters for her votes.

In his annual work report at the start of the National People’s Congress last month, Li said the authorities would press on with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area concept.

Li said Beijing would support Lam in boosting the local economy, improving people’s livelihoods, promoting democracy and maintaining social harmony.

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Lam is expected to go to Beijing later this month but her office said no date had been fixed yet.

On Friday, Lam was said to be in deep discussions about her new cabinet, with at least one incumbent saying he was likely to leave the government as he hinted at a disagreement with her.

“Perhaps my pace and Lam’s were slightly different,” said the secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, Raymond Tam Chi-yuen, who worked alongside Lam during the contentious political reform process, which led to the 2014 Occupy protests.

“It won’t make for a good subordinate if he or she is 100 per cent obedient,” he added, when asked if he was on bad terms with Lam.

Tam said the political stalemate had left him despondent, and he felt Hong Kong was not ready to restart political reform.

“I personally do not think there has been meaningful progress in terms of building up communication, mutual trust among all stakeholders including the central government and the various political parties in Hong Kong, especially the pan-democratic parties,” Tam said.

He described Lam as “hardworking” and “attentive”, adding that she was his first boss in the government 30 years ago.

Tam also apologised for the loss of the personal information of 3.2 million voters stored in two ­official laptop computers used for the chief executive election that was only open to 1,194 voters.

Asked why so much information was needed for a small-scale election, Tam replied: “Actually that was also my first question when I asked the Registration and Electoral Office.”

The Monetary Authority said it had contacted banks, which said it was impossible to access bank accounts with the information.