Tsang to become next Hong Kong chief

Agence France Presse

Hong Kong, June 15:

Hong Kong’s former top civil servant Donald Tsang said today he had secured enough support from a Beijing-appointed selection committee to become the territory’s next leader.

Tsang, long groomed by Beijing to take over from former chief executive Tung Chee-Hwa, said he had the support of 710 members on the 800-strong committee charged with choosing the next leader. Most panel members are Beijing loyalists. “This reflects I have won support from people from all walks of life,” Tsang told reporters after handing in his nomination papers at the Electoral Affairs Commission offices. “But I vow I will try my best to work for everybody.” His appointment seemed all but sealed when Chinese President Hu Jintao singled him out for a long handshake during a gathering of Chinese leaders late last year.

Tsang would likely be declared leader tomorrow without the need for a formal election originally set for July 10. He is expected to travel to Beijing later in the week to receive his official appointment as chief executive. Tsang’s only vaguely serious rival, Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Wing-tat withdrew his challenge, saying he could get the backing of nowhere near the 100 delegates needed to win formal nomination.