efe-epaMacao, China

The Chinese territory of Macao on Sunday elected Ho Iat Seng, the lone approved candidate, as its new leader for the next five years.

Ho, 62, is considered a strong pro-Beijing politician who has a member of the Legislative Assembly and Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in the special administrative region of China.

According to China’s official Xinhua news agency, he secured 392 votes from a 400-member election committee.

He is now awaiting the approval of China's central government to be the region’s new chief executive.

The members of the poll committee began voting to elect the region's next chief executive at around 10 am local time.

About 30 minutes later, Song Man Lei, president of the election management committee, announced that Ho was elected almost unanimously.

There were seven abstentions and one vote was deemed invalid, according to the election management committee.

Ho, born in Macao in 1957, comes from a well-off local business family. From 2004 to 2009, he served as a member of the Executive Council of Macao.

In October 2013, he was elected president of the Legislative Assembly of the region and was re-elected in October 2017.

He had also been a deputy of China's National People's Congress (NPC) and a member of the NPC Standing Committee.

After his election was announced, the pro-Beijing leader said he would spare no effort to uphold the principals of "one country, two systems".

"Macao people governing Macao (and) a high degree of autonomy," he said.

"I will unswervingly carry out my duties and governance in strict accordance with the constitution and the basic law to serve the people, the (region) and the country.”

Like Hong Kong, Macao was formerly a European colony. It was handed to Beijing in 1999 when it became a Chinese special administrative region.

Hong Kong and Macao both enjoy considerable autonomy under the “one country, two systems” formula.

Home to nearly 670,000 residents over the years has become a major resort city in the region and is known as one of the top destinations for gambling tourism. EFE-EPA