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Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 14:53 GMT
HK leader wins five more years
HK Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa with supporters
Mr Tung has the backing of the Chinese leadership
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa has secured a second five-year term in office without facing an election challenge.

He was nominated for re-election by more than 700 members of an 800-strong election committee.

This represents the support of all sections of society for me and the high aspirations they have placed in me

Tung Chee-hwa
Pro-democracy protestors have hit out at the process saying it is designed to keep Hong Kong in the hands of Beijing officialdom.

In 1997, Mr Tung became Hong Kong's first Chinese leader following its return from British rule.

Although the former shipping magnate enjoys the support of Beijing, and local business leaders, correspondents say his popularity among ordinary people has been dismal.

"Such a manipulated system defies logic and is an insult to the people's intelligence," said opposition MP Emily Lau.

"Mr Tung does not represent the people and his policies will continue to serve the interests of his friends and cronies."

The system

Mr Tung has brushed aside the criticism, saying his decision to stand again had been vindicated by the committee's support.

"This represents the support of all sections of society for me and the high aspirations they have placed in me," he said.

Electoral officials confirmed Mr Tung's nomination form contained at least 702 valid signatures.

Candidates can only run if they secure 100 nominations. Since committee members can only nominate one candidate each, Mr Tung now goes unchallenged.

But he cannot formally be declared the winner until the nomination period closes on 28 February.

If there had been more than one candidate, the election committee would have voted on 24 March.

Martin Lee, the leader of Hong Kong's Democratic Party, said the election was a "fait accompli".

"The top leaders in Beijing supported him and so his second term was a foregone conclusion," he said.

China's communist leaders had made it clear they wanted Mr Tung to stay in the job, with President Jiang Zemin saying in December he wanted Mr Tung to serve a second term.

See also:

13 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
Tung Chee-hwa: Beijing's favoured son
13 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
HK leader to run again
11 Dec 01 | Asia-Pacific
China backs HK leader
25 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
HK protest against Tung's rule
12 Jul 01 | Asia-Pacific
HK leader says freedom is safe
12 Jan 01 | Asia-Pacific
HK deputy leader quits
27 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Beijing backs troubled HK leader
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