The fifth Chief Executive election was held last Sunday. Carrie Lam defeated John Tsang and Woo Kwok-hing, the other two candidates, with a vote count of 777, significant higher than Tsang’s 365 and Woo’s 21. She will be appointed as the next Chief Executive. Will she confidently implement the promises, vision and plans she had for us during the election campaign, or will she be daunted by the difficulties ahead of her?
Faced with the current discord in society, Lam said in her victory speech that her first goal is to “heal the society, unite the people”. She will do so by listening to different stakeholders and winning approval with her action.
When asked how to return the favour her supporting organisations and the business sector did for her, Lam said in an election forum on March 14th that she did not "owe anything to anyone”. She promised to administer with the interest of the Hong Kong people in mind.
In her manifesto, to encourage the new generation to realise their potential and develop their careers, she proposed her four directions of youth policy—education, career, housing, political involvement. Lam also mentioned that she will learn to “listen more, communicate more” with the youth in an interview with the Commercial Radio.
In light of the “deep-rooted conflicts” in Hong Kong, Lam’s ability to administer is doubted despite her confidence and the support she has from pro-establishment stakeholders. Lam’s approval rate pre-election was lower than 30%. Ma Ngok, a Professor in the Department of Government and Public Administration in The Chinese University of Hong Kong points out that Lam is the first Chief Executive elected with such low popularity. This will undoubtedly complicate her administration. Since the handover, the past three Chief Executives resolved neither the issue of the legislation of Basic Law Article 23, nor that of universal suffrage. Many of the social problems such as land supply, housing, education and welfare await. Will Lam, who has 36 years of experience in public administration, and her team give in to the adversities, or win the favour of the people by fulfilling her promises?
A lot of commentators have said that Hong Kong has never been torn by so much disagreement since the handover. CY Leung’s campaign slogan “With Hearts as One” five years ago failed to unite different parties and political opinions. Donald Tsang who promised he will “Do the Job” ten years ago was sentenced to imprisonment due to misconduct in public office. It would be Hong Kong people’s greatest fortune if we can have a Chief Executive who always has the people’s interest in mind, listens to the people and has the ability to resolve conflicts. Can Carrie Lam’s “We Connect” connect Hong Kong people and guide us in one direction? We will have to wait and see.