Beijing Loyalist Wins Hong Kong Election

Leung Chun-ying a self-made billionaire who advocates closer ties to China
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 25, 2012 6:44 AM CDT
Beijing Loyalist Wins Hong Kong Election
Leung Chun-ying waves as he celebrated after winning the chief executive election in Hong Kong earlier today.   (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

(Newser) – In something of a non-surprise, Beijing's man won the race for chief executive of Hong Kong today, reports Reuters. A self-made billionaire and son of a policeman, Leung Chun-ying took 61% of the 1,200-vote election committee, comprised of political, business, and labor leaders, that decides Hong Kong's leadership. His main rival, Henry Tang, a billionaire construction mogul, had been the early favorite to win, but a series of scandals derailed his campaign. "Somehow Tang has managed to blow a fixed election," quipped one Western diplomat.

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“I promise that all the freedom enjoyed by Hong Kong people won’t change,” Leung said at a press conference. “We need to defend our core values and to work aggressively to solve many problems.” Hong Kong is scheduled to begin universal suffrage in 2017, but Bloomberg notes that Leung's reputation as aloof, combined with his relatively narrow margin of victory, may make for a tempestuous tenure until then. “Bill Clinton, he’ll make you think he’s your best friend inside of 10 minutes,” said a property developer with close ties to Tang. With Leung, “you may not feel that even after knowing him for 10 years.” (Read more Leung Chun-ying stories.)

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