Hong Kong, Dec 10 (IANS) Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday revealed that she had apologised to members of the pro-Beijing camp for its landslide loss in the November 24 district council elections, after meeting some of the defeated candidates.
It was the first time that Lam, who is yet to meet any of the victorious pan-democrats, openly apologised to her allies since they suffered the humiliating reversal two weeks ago, losing control of 17 out of 18 district councils amid long-running unrest fuelled by anger at the Chief Executive and her administration, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported.
Pro-Beijing candidates won only 60 out of 452 seats.
Speaking ahead of her weekly Executive Council meeting, Lam said on Tuesday morning that she had met members of the pro-establishment camp recently, adding that the government was at least partly responsible for the election result.
“The defeat of the pro-establishment camp undeniably has a direct relationship with the government,” she said, saying some voters did not care about candidates’ performances in their districts but “merely expressed their dissatisfaction with the government”.
“From this perspective, it is only natural for me to offer apologies to the pro-establishment candidates.
“I do not evade this stance as chief executive, whether privately or openly,” she added.
The election, which drew a record 71.2 per cent turnout, was seen as a showdown for Lam’s government, months after it inadvertently sparked the angry protests with a controversial extradition bill, which it has since withdrawn, said the South China Morning Post.
The initial protests have spread over the past half-year into a wider push for greater democracy and police accountability.
Lam added that government would respect the incoming legion of pro-democracy district councillors and treat them the same as any other councillors, while expecting them to respect the usual rules and conventions.