China loyalist John Lee will be Hong Kong's next leader
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John Lee, a Beijing loyalist, has been picked to be the city’s next chief executive.

Bloomberg | Getty Images

John Lee, a Beijing loyalist, has been elected as Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive.

Lee, the only candidate for Hong Kong’s top post, won more than 1,416 votes in Sunday’s election. He only needed a simple majority and obtained more than the 750 votes required.

About 1,500 members of a largely pro-Beijing election committee cast their votes to select the new chief executive. The election was earlier postponed due to a surge in Covid cases in the Chinese city.

The 64-year-old Lee will replace outgoing Chief Executive Carrie Lam on July 1, when he begins his five-year term.

“I extend my sincere congratulations to Mr John Lee on his successful election and later today, I will submit a report of the election result to the Central People’s Government,” outgoing leader Lam said on Sunday.

“The present-term government and I will ensure a seamless transition with the Chief Executive-elect. We will render all the support needed for the assumption of office by the new term of government,” Lam said in a government press release.

Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China governed under the “one country, two systems” framework. The city has limited election rights and a mostly separate legal and economic system.

“The selection of Lee, a career police officer who played a leading role in the crackdown on the pro-democracy protests that began in 2019, indicates that Beijing’s top priority for Hong Kong is maintaining political security rather than preserving its role as a dynamic global hub,” analysts at Eurasia Group said last week before the election.

“Lee’s appointment will reinforce Hong Kong’s shift from being a global financial and business center to playing a narrower role as a capital gateway for China,” Eurasia’s analysts said. “While the risks to political and financial stability are modest, Lee’s administration may be poorly equipped to respond to a major shock.”

— This is breaking news. Please check back for updates 

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