Last week, Leung, 48, kicked open a very stout door when voters elected him to the territory's Legislative Council, or Legco. The closely watched Legco race, in which the big issue was whether China should allow Hong Kong greater democratic freedoms (such as directly electing its leader), concluded with mixed results. Voter turnout was 55.6%, a record high, and the pro-democracy camp picked up three additional seats and 58% of the popular vote. But given the peculiar way in which Legco is constituted—with some seats reserved for professional groups—the democrats' success did not translate into a majority in the chamber, where pro-government forces continue to hold sway. "These results are much better than we expected," says Fei Fih, a Hong Kong delegate to the National People's Congress in Beijing. "But," she admitted, "it will be more difficult for the government."
The new Legco is guaranteed to be noisier after the election of Long Hair Leung and a pro-democracy former radio talk-show host, Albert Cheng. Leung campaigned both for democracy and for the government to do more for the poor. He says he has no intention of dressing up—his wardrobe consists of Che Guevara T shirts and Teva sandals—and the day after the election, Leung was at the gates of the main government-office building protesting about polling irregularities. Instead of getting arrested, he was invited in. Quaffing a beer at a bar the next day, he chuckled: "I think I can get used to this."