Veteran civil servant Donald Tsang effectively won Hong Kong's leadership race on Wednesday, filing papers that showed he had the solid backing of an election committee that picks the Chinese territory's leaders.
Tsang trounced his two rivals by collecting 710 of the nominations from the election panel of about 800 people. The other candidates - both lawmakers - conceded days ago they were unable to win the minimum 100 nominations they needed to be placed on the July 10 ballot.
Tsang announced his nomination count shortly after filing with election officials, who would verify the endorsements and announce results Thursday.
"The process was very smooth," Tsang told reporters at his campaign office.
"I feel very excited. I feel I have more responsibilities," he added.
The flamboyant, bowtie-wearing Tsang seems like an unlikely success story. A policeman's son, he never went to college. He briefly worked as a pharmaceutical salesman before joining the civil service, where he has worked for nearly 40 years.
He became financial secretary in 1995, and was named a knight of the British Empire in the final days of British rule - an honor that many thought would doom him if he stayed in government after the handover to China.
During Tung's eight years of rule, Tsang was reputed to be a loyal official who efficiently carried out orders. When Tung resigned, Tsang was the No. 2 ranking official responsible for running the government.
trounce : to thrash; beat（痛击）