Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Election: The Numbers You Need to Know

I don’t often talk politics, but it is big news in Hong Kong right now, as the city gears up for the election of its new Chief Executive.

Under Hong Kong’s constitution, known as ‘Basic Law’, the Chief Executive, or CE, is the head of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government.

A new one will be elected for a five year term on 26 March.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive isn’t elected by popular vote. Instead it’s down to an elected committee of influential politicians, businessmen and professionals.

It’s a complicated process, but here are the numbers you need to know:

3 – Candidates: Carrie Lam, former Chief Secretary for Administration; John Tsang, former Financial Secretary; and Woo Kwok-hing, a retired judge.

3.8 million – Total registered voters in Hong Kong.

246,440 – Voters eligible to vote for the members of the Election Committee— these voters are part of professional or special interest groups, known as ‘functional constituencies’.

1,200 – Members of the Election Committee, which nominates and picks the Chief Executive.

4 – Sectors that make up the Election Committee: Business, Political, Professional, Social.

150 – Nominations from the Election Committee required by each candidate to move forward to the election.

This year Carrie Lam received 580 nominations; John Tsang received 165 nominations; and retired Woo Kwok-hing received 180.

601 – Election Committee votes required to win the Chief Executive election.

If a candidate is not elected in the first round of voting, the two candidates with the most votes in the first round enter a run-off, second round ballot.

689 – Number of votes that earned the last Chief Executive, CY Leung, his position and his nickname.

I have to admit, it’s not the easiest process to understand – especially for expats who are used to more voter representative systems. Luckily the South China Morning Post and CNN have found a way to explain it all in under two minutes – check out their videos!

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