Hong Kong’s electoral committee has chosen Beijing-backed Carrie Lam as the city’s next chief executive.
Lam won with 772 votes, the South China Morning Post reported citing an unofficial count. A total of 1,194 electors cast their votes on Sunday.
Hong Kong’s small-circle electoral system has come under criticism as unrepresentative of its 7.3 million residents.
“They will see it as a resounding victory for Carrie Lam, who after all has been their preferred candidate in this election,” he said.
“Many of Lam’s opponents are saying that her victory is a Pyrrhic victory because the only mandate she has comes from the small amount of people who voted on this committee.
“What she doesn’t have is the mandate of the electorate at large, because the Hong Kong people had absolutely no say in this election as Beijing said that Hong Kong can have their election only if they could vet approve the candidates.”
With her hardline and pro-Beijing stance, critics and opposition democrats say, her election risks sowing further social divisions in the former British colony that returned to China 20 years ago under a “one country, two systems” formula that guarantees it wide-ranging freedoms.
Anson Chan, former Hong Kong chief secretary, told Al Jazeera that Lam will enter office with a very low approval rating.
“She has to move very quickly to put together a capable and credible team,” Chan said, adding: “She will have to somehow establish trust with the people of the country that she will govern.”
Chan added that Beijing officials frightened voters by suggesting that they will get to know who voted for whom, despite the ballot being carried out in secret.
“This has been a blatantly unfair and dishonest election. The liaison office representing Beijing in Hong Kong has blatantly interfered in the election process,” she said.
Lam, 59, dubbed “the fighter” by local media, was once the most popular official in the cabinet of staunchly pro-Beijing incumbent chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, who in 2012 won a similar election restricted to just 1,200 voters.