It will never be known how members of the Election Committee might have voted if they had had a chance to cast secret ballots for the next chief executive. But as it is, in what amounts to an open election with voters having to disclose who they vote for, Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has won the support of 674 of the 796 committee members to be Hong Kong's leader for the next two years. A further 36 signed letters of support for him. Mr Tsang's supporters include some of Hong Kong's most prominent businessmen, such as Hutchison Whampoa's Li Ka-shing, Hongkong Bank chairman Vincent Cheng Hoi-chuen, casino magnate Stanley Ho Hung-sun, Sun Hung Kai Properties' Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong, and the chairman of Orient Overseas (International), Tung Chee-chen, the brother of former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa. Only a small number of members from the accountancy, higher education, law and medical sectors nominated Mr Tsang's rival, Democratic Party chairman Lee Wing-tat. Education was the only sector in which Mr Lee triumphed over Mr Tsang, receiving nine nominations against the latter's seven. Cynics have used the Chinese proverb 'those who suit their actions to the times are wise' to describe the nomination process, suggesting that people bent with the wind to back the winner. In a sense, that might not be fair to Mr Tsang, as opinion polls show he is endorsed by 78 per cent of the public. Even if the chief executive were returned by a popular vote and the opposition managed to field a stronger candidate than Mr Lee, many believe Mr Tsang, with his strong administrative experience and deft political skills, would still stand a good chance of winning. This is despite the fact that 21 pro-democracy legislators who form the backbone of the opposition and nominated Mr Lee were returned by more than 50 per cent of the electorate in the last election. Voters' support for these legislators may or may not translate into support for a chief executive candidate fielded by them. However, because of the undemocratic composition of the committee, Mr Tsang will never be considered to have won a mandate from the community. Even if we accepted that a guild-based proportional representation system had its merits, it is ludicrous for the agricultural and fisheries sector - which accounts for 0.1 per cent of Hong Kong's economic activity - to have 40 members on the committee. Most industrial and professional sectors have only 20 members each. The other sector that wields disproportional clout on the committee is the social welfare sector, which also has 40 members. But the 'open and transparent' nomination process has obliged some of the vocal proponents of democracy among them to pledge their support for Mr Tsang instead of Mr Lee.