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Sunday, March 26, 2017, 20:55

Lam vows to reunite Hong Kong

By Shadow Li and Luis Liu in Hong Kong

Former chief secretary makes history as SAR's first female leader by winning 777 votes in CE election

Lam vows to reunite Hong Kong
Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor celebrates her election victory with family and supporters at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on March 26, 2017. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

A “humbled” Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor pledged on Sunday to reunite Hong Kong and “heal the divide” in society after romping home to a resounding victory in the SAR’s fifth term Chief Executive election and creating history by becoming the city’s first elected female leader.

The former chief secretary for administration in the current government of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying secured a whopping 777 votes, or 67 percent, of the 1,163 valid ballots cast by members of the 1,194strong Election Committee (EC). She was declared the winner after just the first round of voting.

According to the Electoral Affairs Commission, a total of 1,186 EC members cast their votes, with a turnout rate of 99.33 percent.

Lam’s score was more than doubled that of her nearest rival, former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah who received 365 votes, while retired judge Woo Kwok-hing secured just 21 votes.

In her victory speech, Lam, 59, appealed to the community to “unite and move forward”, vowing to enhance the communication mechanisms between the government and diverse sectors of society.

Lam vows to reunite Hong Kong
Chief Executive candidate Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor arrives the polling center at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on March 26, 2017. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

“Hong Kong, our home, is suffering from quite a serious divisiveness and has accumulated a lot of frustration. My priority will be to heal the divide and to ease the frustration,” she said.

The Chief Executive-elect said she will fully implement the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and safeguard Hong Kong’s core values, including freedom of speech, rule of law and an independent judiciary that are essential for the city’s future prosperity.

READ MORE: Lam garners further support

The city’s incoming leader, who will be sworn in on July 1 after being appointed by the central government, also promised down to earth efforts to overcome social problems, especially those faced by the younger generation, to create a better future for them.

Both Tsang and Woo congratulated Lam on her victory, urging Hong Kong to rally behind the new leader.

Tsang, who was Lam’s former colleague, offered his “heartfelt congratulations” and wished her “every success” in her future work. He believes that Lam will stand by the core values of Hong Kong.

READ MORE: DAB, FTU throw weight behind Lam

Woo said he too believes that Lam has the ability to reunite Hong Kong and make the city “a nice place for everybody to live in”.

Lam’s election win had been much anticipated by the majority of Hong Kong people, many of whom hailed the veteran civil servant as an ideal choice for the city’s top job, with the vision she outlined in her election platform, her rich experience in public policies in various areas, which have all demonstrated her abilities and commitment to serving Hong Kong.

Lam vows to reunite Hong Kong
Electoral Affairs Commission staff open a ballot box at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center in Wan Chai, March 26, 2017. (Roy Liu / China Daily)

After securing final approval from the central government and before assuming office on July 1 as the fourth CE of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region since the handover, Lam will pick her cabinet and submit their names to the central government for consent.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Lam came from a modest family background. She’s married to mathematician Lam Siu-por, and the couple has two sons.

She joined the government in 1980 as an assistant officer and had since held 20 different posts spanning a 36year career in public service. She resigned as chief secretary for administration in January this year when she announced she would contest CE election.

READ MORE: Lam pledges to tackle livelihood issues

Lam’s career brought her into close association with various government departments, including medical care, land and housing, welfare and the treasury. She has been highly praised for her achievements as secretary for development between 2007 and 2012 before she was promoted to the government’s No 2 job in July 2012.

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