Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday reappointed Donald Tsang as chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) after he again won a landslide election for the post.
"Tsang's victory in the election meets the Hong Kong people's expectations and reflects their trust in him," Wen said.
Tsang, in a statement issued immediately after the appointment, expressed his thanks to the central government, saying the opportunity to serve is "a great honor."
"I have a huge mission," Tsang said, pledging to strive to lead the HKSAR government in a pragmatic manner and to bring Hong Kong's development to a new height.
According to the Basic Law of the HKSAR, the chief executive is elected by the broadly representative Election Committee and then appointed by the central government.
Tsang out-polled Alan Leong, the only other candidate, 649 to 123 in the election for chief executive on March 25. The Election Committee is a kind of electoral college made up of elected representatives from various sectors.
"The election, conforming to the principle of openness, fairness and justice, fully tallies with the Basic Law and other relevant laws, " Wen said at a plenum of the State Council, China's cabinet
Wen spoke highly of Tsang's performance during the nearly two years he served as HKSAR chief executive after he was first elected in June 2005. That election was made necessary when Tsang's predecessor, Tung Chee Hwa, resigned mid-way through his second term due to ill health.
Tsang will head for Beijing on April 8 to attend an inauguration ceremony and return to Hong Kong on April 10.
He will begin serving his new term on July 1, 2007, which will be the third full term since Hong Kong became a special administrative region in 1997. Tsang's term will end on June 30, 2012.
Observers believe Tsang's past experience in helping Hong Kong out of difficulties and the central government's faith in him will be conducive to solving problems he will meet over the next five years.
"Tsang has led the local government to enhance its governance capability, develop its economy, improve the livelihood of the people and handle actively and properly various problems of public concern," Wen said.
"The performance of his administration has been widely applauded by local people from all walks of life," he said.
The central government hopes Tsang will make greater contributions to Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability, thoroughly implement the Basic Law and adhere to the principle of "one country, two systems", under which Hong Kong people administer Hong Kong with a high degree of autonomy, Wen noted.
"I shall not fail the trust the central government and the people of Hong Kong have placed in me," Tsang said in the statement.
He said he had solicited views from members of the Election Committee and reached out to people from all social circles to find out their needs and expectations during the two-month election campaign.
"I'll keep these precious suggestions in mind and try to respond to them in my future work," he said.
During the election campaign, Tsang pledged to fully leverage the advantages of "one country, two systems" in pushing forward economic development, the democratic process, consolidating Hong Kong's status as an international metropolis and establishing the city as the country's international financial center.
"I will lead a government that will become a force for political progress in Hong Kong, a government that will bring Hong Kong into a new era and establish Hong Kong as a dynamic, multicultural and vibrant metropolis," he said during the campaign.
His election platform displayed his thorough and deep consideration to the problems existing in Hong Kong, said Hong Kong Commercial Daily in an editorial hailing the election outcome.
The Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po said in an editorial that Tsang faces three important tasks after the election. It said he must grasp the opportunity to push the development of Hong Kong, upgrade the standard of living of the people and promote a harmonious society, and work toward constitutional development.
Born in Hong Kong in 1944, Tsang began his career with the government in January 1967 and held many positions before becoming HKSAR chief executive. He graduated from Harvard University in 1981 with a master's degree in public administration.