Taiwan lawmakers hope Hong Kongers can choose government leader

Many fear that Lam will continue the tough policies of staunchly pro-Beijing incumbent Leung Chun-ying, a divisive figure who ordered the firing of tear gas on pro-democracy protesters in 2014, and who was not seen to be defending Hong Kong's autonomy and core values.

The candidate will be chosen by a committee of mostly pro-Beijing electors, rather than a public vote, which pro-democracy campaigners have been fighting for.

They represented industry and trade groups such as finance, accounting, property and textiles, with most supporting China's communist leaders and are expected to vote according to their wishes.

She also said she saw her own inadequacies and said her actions in the coming weeks and months would prove whether she was determined to heal the city's rift and lead an inclusive and consensual government.

Tam expressed worries that, under Lam's rule, the "one country, two systems" formula enacted by China will soon be turned into 'one country, one system'.

After more than two years of protests over the city's political future, this seemed to be what her city needed to hear, and saying the right thing at the right time was precisely what catapulted Lam to this position in the first place. Hong Kong's Basic Law, or mini-constitution that was adapted after the city was handed over to China in 1997, promises universal suffrage.

A former student activist, Ms Lam joined the civil service after leaving university.

Carrie Lam was a firm Beijing-favourite and received significant establishment support in the run up to election. "She will only tell us what Beijing wants, and won't reflect what the people want to the communist regime".

Tsang likened his defeat to waking up from a dream, but said there was no evidence Beijing had influenced the result.

Hong Kong's 1,200-seat Election Committee will pick one of the three candidates to succeed current leader CY Leung, who steps down in July.

In the ensuing years, China has made clear that it will not allow Hong Kong to become a base for subversion or a safe haven for those it considers a threat.

Calls for fully free elections in the semi-autonomous region have failed, despite intense demonstrations, known as the "umbrella protests", in 2014. A total of 1,163 valid votes were cast.

Hong Kong was handed back to China by colonial ruler Britain in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula created to protect its freedoms and way of life.

Lam said she would not immediately revive attempts to revamp the electoral system, a potential political flashpoint that could rekindle protests by pro-democracy supporters.

Lam's ability to soothe tensions relies on how much public support she can gain.

In reality, China never meant to cede any control over Hong Kong or allow real democratic elections, with outcomes it could not predetermine.

The protests began after the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) issued a decision regarding proposed reforms to the Hong Kong electoral system.

In November past year, a Hong Kong court disqualified Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching after they used anti-China insults when they were being sworn into office.

  • Leroy Wright