The sudden resignation of Tung Chee-hwa as chief executive (CE) of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) in March 2005 surprised Hong Kong. Donald Tsang, the former chief secretary for administration, won the CE by-election on 16 June 2005. He was then appointed by the Central People’s Government (CPG) and assumed office on 21 June 2005. Handpicked by former President Jiang Zemin, Tung had earned the trust of the CPG. Unfortunately, the performance of Tung’s government was regarded by many of his fellow citizens as far from satisfactory. The reasons for the under-performance were various. The 1997 Asian financial crisis provided too much of a challenge and burden for the newly-formed HKSAR government. Tung himself, underprepared and ill-equipped to lead the executive, found it hard to mount a prompt and effective response to the crisis. The institutional design for selecting the CE and forming the executive was also flawed. This chapter therefore examines the establishment and functions within the executive branch of the HKSAR. How the CE and the executive govern, and their interaction with the Legislative Council in terms of general policymaking and budgetary decision-making processes, are also discussed. Lastly, possible developments and the emerging reforms are considered.
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