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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 07:20 GMT 08:20 UK
Donald Tsang set to be HK leader
Donald Tsang,former acting chief executive, smiles at a election office in Hong Kong Wednesday, June 15, 2005.
Mr Tsang is popular with the Hong Kong public
Donald Tsang has effectively won Hong Kong's leadership, after saying he had secured an overwhelming majority of nominations from a Beijing committee.

He handed in nomination forms showing he had support from 710 of the 800 election committee members.

This means two rivals do not have enough votes to challenge him, and if election officials verify the result, he will be declared winner on Thursday.

Mr Tsang, 60, is a former civil servant who is popular with Hong Kong's public.

As a former deputy leader, he has been serving as acting chief executive since Tung Chee-hwa resigned in March, citing health worries.

His success in the leadership contest was never in doubt, because of his experience and the fact he had Beijing's backing.

But he was keen to gain the overwhelming support of the election committee, to gain a mandate.

Knighted for work during British colonial rule before 1997
Mostly held financial posts, and became first Chinese to be Financial Secretary
Popular with public but loyal to Beijing

Under the election rules, only candidates who have 100 nominators within the committee can stand.

Because Mr Tsang's rivals have only a few dozen nominations between them, there will now be no need for a formal election on 10 July, as previously scheduled.

"The process was very smooth," Mr Tsang told reporters.

"I feel very excited. I feel I have more responsibilities," he said.

Polls show Mr Tsang enjoys public support of more than 70%, a stark contrast to the unpopular Tung Chee-hwa.

A flamboyant dresser, famed for his colourful bowties, he is seen as approachable and decisive. But, given his close ties with Beijing, he is unlikely to press for any substantial political change in Hong Kong.

Many in the territory feel that the Chinese mainland wields too much power and stifles the high degree of autonomy it was promised when Britain handed it back to China in 1997.

It cannot directly elect its own leader, and Beijing can effectively veto any changes to its political system.

But while Beijing supports Mr Tsang, a civil servant when the British ruled Hong Kong, it does not yet fully trust him, analysts say.

It has decided that Mr Tsang will only serve the remaining two years of Mr Tung's remaining term of office, before holding a new election in 2007.

Hong Kong's orderly succession
15 Jun 05 |  Asia-Pacific
HK chief enters leadership race
25 May 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Donald Tsang
10 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Regions and territories: Hong Kong
25 May 05 |  Country profiles
Hong Kong looks to life after Tung
10 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific
Profile: Tung Chee-hwa
10 Mar 05 |  Asia-Pacific


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