Former Lingnan University student union chief Nathan Law Kwun-chung was last night elected as the new secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students. Law won with 37 votes from the 53 student representatives from seven tertiary institutions qualified to vote in the annual election. His only rival, Jason Szeto Tse-long, secured 14 votes. One voter abstained and there was one invalid vote. The election, held as part of the annual conference of the city’s oldest and largest student body, came amid a membership crisis that has seen students from member institutions trigger referendums to decide if they should break away after the federation, which was accused of making hasty decisions with little transparency during last years’ Occupy movement. Last month, University of Hong Kong students voted narrowly to quit the federation in a referendum. A similar poll was held at Lingnan University earlier this month, when students voted against a call for its union to break away from the federation. Students at four more institutions – Chinese University, Baptist University, Polytechnic University and City University – have reportedly secured enough signatures to trigger similar referendums. Founded in 1958, many of the federation’s leaders have been at the forefront of social movements. Some have become politicians and others liberal academics. Law, who studies Cultural Studies at Lingnan University, was one of three student leaders at the heart of the Occupy Central protests who were banned from flying to Beijing in an attempt to press their demands for genuine universal suffrage in November last year. Two new deputy secretary generals were also elected last night: Alan Wong Ka-fai of Chinese University and Victor Wong Hon-leung of Baptist University both secured 46 votes each.