The outcome of the election proved the arrangements were not designed to hinder pro-democracy candidates, said Chief Secretary for Administration Anson Chan Fang On-sang. Mrs Chan was referring to the victory by the democratic camp, which grabbed three-quarters of the 20 geographical constituency seats. Addressing the Trade Development Council annual dinner in New York, Mrs Chan rejected criticisms that last month's polls were not good enough. 'I am aware of criticisms that the election arrangements were flawed, that they were designed to lessen the prospects of the pro-democracy candidates and boost the chances of the so-called China-friendly candidates. I believe the outcome proved otherwise,' she said. Noting that the polls had been conducted fairly and honestly, Mrs Chan said a balanced legislature resulted whereby a host of members most critical of the arrangements were included. 'Whatever messages you may think was sent by the voters on May 24, I think two stand out: that Hong Kong people want to be part of the process of government; they laid to rest once and for all the patronising canard that Hong Kong people are only interested in money, and not politics,' she said. 'There were no boycotts but plenty of hard, noisy, colourful campaigning, which is very much Hong Kong-style.' The polls, Mrs Chan added, marked the first step towards universal suffrage laid down in the Basic Law. 'Our aim is to keep our eye on the ball so that we don't miss the goal of universal suffrage at the end of the field,' she said. She assured guests of the integrity of Hong Kong's institutions one year after its transformation to a special administrative region. 'I realise that some people were holding their breath. I know that there were others who were hoping for the best, but fearing the worst. 'Hong Kong was about to go down the tubes. Our freedoms would be rolled over. Democracy would be crushed. Corruption would creep back. The rule of law would be eroded. There would be government by guanxi,' she said. However, the institutions of a civilised society remained not just intact but vibrant, she said. Citing the June 4 vigil held at Victoria Park last week, Mrs Chan said political protest was still alive. 'We have had more demonstrations in the year since the handover than in the year before. And you will all have seen on your TV screens how peacefully the commemoration of the June 4 incident went in Hong Kong.'