Tung Chee-hwa owes his victory not only to the support of the Election Committee members but to an electoral system designed to keep surprises to a minimum. Unlike his last election, which attracted three serious rivals, the race to become the second chief executive was always destined to be a one-horse event. The open support that Mr Tung received from President Jiang Zemin as early as 2000 was seen by most as an anointment for him to serve for another five years. It unmistakably sent the message that no other aspirants would get the top job. Regardless of how unpopular he was with the Hong Kong public, once Mr Tung had secured Beijing's mandate, patriotic committee members had little choice but to support him. Restricting voting rights to an 800-member electoral college not only made the public indifferent to the polls but allowed Mr Tung to focus on the so-called small circle dominated by business interests rather than the 6.8 million people of Hong Kong. Consequently, campaigns initiated by activists against Mr Tung have largely failed to rouse the public from its apathy. With more than 700 nominations in his pocket, Mr Tung has effectively stopped anyone else securing the minimum 100 nominations required from the Election Committee. Even if anti-Tung activists managed to agree on a contender acceptable to the pro-democracy camp, it would be wishful thinking for them to believe they could secure enough names to clear the first hurdle. Confirmation that Mr Tung has given up soliciting votes from the pro-democracy camp will reinforce the impression that the whole electoral process is no more than a small-circle game.