In the early afternoon today it was announced that Chun-ying Leung was elected the next chief executive with 689 votes. Henry Tang got 285 while Albert Ho only 76. There were also a handful of invalid votes.
Not surprisingly, the election results by 1,200 members of the Election Committee, who are not accountable to the general public of Hong Kong, are starkly different from what opinion polls have shown.
Look at the results of the unofficial referendum on 23-24 March, organised by the Public Opinion Programme of the University of Hong Kong, the contrast seems even more conspicuous:
Mr Leung: 39,614 votes (17.8 per cent)
Mr Ho: 24,452 votes (11.4 per cent)
Mr Tang: 36,226 votes (16.3 per cent)
Abstention: 121,580 votes (54.6 per cent)
There were some 15,000 cases in which the voter's Hong Kong Identity Card number has been registered without their prior consent. Another 8,000 votes were also found to be invalid.
Notwithstanding these cases of doubt, it is apparent that most of us here do not support any of the candidates, whatever the reasons might be. Unlike previous opinion polls in which Mr Leung has secured some 30-40 per cent of support and thus maintained a significant lead, he was marginally more preferable to Mr Tang by only 1.5 percentage points.
No wonder Mr Ho teased Mr Leung as a "three-low" chief executive – who has low support, low recognition and low credibility.
What does it mean? At the first glance, it means Mr Leung's job would be even more difficult than his predecessors, who had entered their office with high popularity. But they failed to leverage the favourable conditions to enhance their governance. Rather, governance deteriorated over time, leaving old problems unresolved and new ones created.
With only 65 per cent of support from the Election Committee members and less one-fifth of popular approval, Mr Leung naturally faces the daunting task of soliciting and securing support for his administration. While what impact would ensue remains to be seen, creative people like us in Hong Kong have more than enough reasons to question his commitment to work for the common good, rather than pleasing specific factions and sectors for his own political interest. This is not even taking into account the lingering allegation that Mr Leung is a member of the Chinese Communist Party, which only fuels mistrust and suspicions.
While I find the allegations against Mr Leung and their timing as suspicious as those smearing manoeuvres against Mr Tang, I just don't know what else to say. All I can do is pray: May God bless us. Amen.