November 26, 2019

Humiliated at polls, Hong Kong’s Lam acknowledges discontent with government

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong, Polls

Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam

Hong Kong Chief Executive, Carrie Lam

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam acknowledged on Tuesday that the record turnout in local elections won by the opposition, pro-democracy candidates highlighted dissatisfaction with her administration, while appealing for an end to violent protests.

Appearing tired and drawn, Lam spoke a day after results showed democratic candidates secured almost 90% of 452 district council seats in Sunday’s elections, a landslide victory in polls that were widely seen as a barometer of the opposition to the Beijing-backed leader.

Hong Kong’s most unpopular post-colonial leader acknowledged voters wanted to express their views on many issues, including “deficiencies in governance”.

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Speaking in measured tones, she thanked residents for voting peacefully and hoped the calm weekend was not just for the elections but a signal that residents want an end to unrest that has rocked the Chinese-ruled city for six months.

“Everybody wants to go back to their normal life and this requires the concerted efforts of every one of us,” Lam said during her weekly address at the government’s headquarters.

“So, as I have said repeatedly, resorting to violence will not give us that way forward. So please, please help us to maintain the relative calm and peace … and provide a good basis for Hong Kong to move forward.”

Some observers say Lam, who came to power in 2017 on a platform to heal social divisions, is out of touch with the population and won’t say anything concrete unless Beijing gives her the green light.

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“There’s no content in her talk, which is usual,” said Ma Ngok, a political scientist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

“The majority of the people still support the (pro-democracy) movement so it is up to them (Beijing) to respond. If they don’t respond with any kind of concessions, I think the protests would go on for some time.”

Source: Reuters

Vanguard News