Hong Kong’s Election: Voters turn to a new political generation with an eye on achieving a more democratic future

Results announced in Legislative Council election, with surprise wins for Eddie Chu Hoi-Dick and Occupy student leader Nathan Law Kwun-chung

Monday, September 5, 2016, 1:17 p.m.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp looks set to retain its veto power to block bills in the new legislature, as a host of new faces have emerged as winners, sweeping aside veteran lawmakers.

The shift shows pro-democracy voters are prepared to back a new political generation that focuses on achieving a more democratic future rather than a radical pursuit of the city’s independence from China, pundits said on Monday morning as the first election results were announced.

However, the pro-Beijing camp will continue to dominate the legislature thanks in part to its heavy presence in the trade-based functional constituencies.

The election is the first to take place since the Occupy protests in 2014, and comes half a year before a new chief executive will be elected for Hong Kong.

Among the unexpected results was the victory of Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, who won more than 84,000 votes in New Territories West, a surprise result for a social activist with no party backup.

Two other moderate backers of self-determination also won in their election debut, including Occupy student leader Nathan Law Kwun-chung and Polytechnic University lecturer Lau Siu-lai, who came in first among pro-democracy candidates in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon West respectively.

Kowloon West

In the race for six seats in the Kowloon West constituency, the DAB’s Ann Chiang Lai-wan topped the race, with 52,541 votes. Other winners were Priscilla Leung Mei-fun of the Business Professional Alliance, who bagged 49,745 votes; localist Lau Siu-lai, with 38,183 votes; the Civic Party’s Claudia Mo Man-ching, with 32,323 votes and the Democratic Party’s Wong Pik-wan, with 26,037 votes.

Veteran radical lawmaker Wong Yuk-man lost his seat in Kowloon West as he was defeated for the sixth seat by Youngspiration’s Yau Wai-ching, who calls for Hong Kong’s self-determination, and received 20,643 votes.

Kowloon East

The balance of power in Kowloon East remained unchanged, with the two pan-democratic parties keeping two seats and the pro-Beijing camp maintaining three seats.

The DAB’s Wilson Or Chong-sing led the race with 51,516 votes, followed by Democratic Party incumbent Wu Chi-wai with 50,309 votes. Pro-Beijing independent Paul Tse Wai-chun was re-elected with 47,627 votes.

The Federation of Trade Union’s incumbent Wong Kwok-kin came fourth with 47,318 votes.

The Civic Party’s Jeremy Tam Man-ho succeeded his party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit to fill the last seat, with 45,408 votes.

The candidate who advocated independence after entering the election, Chan Chak-to, bagged 12,854 votes. He came eighth place after two other radicals, Civic Passion’s Wong Yeung-tat and People Power’s Tam Tak-chi.

Together with Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang, Youngspiration is likely to win two seats in the new Legco.

On the other hand, the Labour Party lost two veteran lawmakers, Lee Cheuk-yan and Cyd Ho Sau-lan.

Frederick Fung Kin-kee, a super seat lawmaker, lost in the race in New Territories West.

“This is a grave challenge for traditional pan-democrats,” Professor Ma Ngok, a political scientist from Chinese University, said. “If the traditional parties fail to change their image, they will continue to face challenges from new faces.”

New Territories West

Independent candidate Eddie Chu Hoi-dick created what his team called “miracle” by bagging 84,141 votes without any party backing in New Territories West, leading the first runner-up by 13,495 votes.

But the landslide victory of Chu came as Labour Party veteran Lee Cheuk-yan was unseated by pro-establishment solicitor Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, who grabbed the last seat by a margin of 5,508 votes.

The balance of power in New Territories West remains unchanged, with the Beijing-friendly bloc maintaining five of the nine seats.

New People’s Party vice-chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun came second by garnering 70,646 votes.

Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong incumbents Ben Chan Han-pan and Leung Che-cheung were also re-elected, with 58,673 and 50,190 votes respectively.

Alice Mak Mei-kuen, of the Federation of Trade Unions, secured a second term with 49,680 votes.

Meanwhile, two new faces from the pro-democracy bloc were also elected.

Polytechnic University lecturer Cheng Chung-tai secured 54,496 votes, becoming the first Civic Passion member to enter the legislature.

Democrat Andrew Wan Siu-kin managed to win a seat by winning 41,704 votes after his party was completely uprooted in 2012.

Civic Party incumbent Kwok Ka-ki kept his seat with 42,334 votes.

Hong Kong Island

On Hong Kong Island, Tanya Chan from the Civic Party secured a seat with 35,404 votes. High-profile businessman Ricky Wong Wai-kay won 33,323 votes.

Nathan Law Kwun-chung won 50,818 votes and Ted Hui Chi-fung, of the Democratic Party, scored 42,499 votes.

The other three seats went to pro-establishment candidates. New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee won 60,760 votes. Kwok Wai-keung of Federation of Trade Unions bagged 45,925 votes.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong – formerly represented by Legco president Tsang Yok-sing in the constituency – got 41,152 votes, with Cheung Kwok-kwan being elected.

Dr Li Pang-kwong, of Lingnan University’s public governance programme, called it a change of climate.

“More democracy voters have changed to supporting localism,” Li said. “But at the same time the support for radicalism is waning.”

Radical lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, one of the fervent supporters for filibustering, is fighting a narrow battle with pro-establishment candidate Christine Fong Kwok-shan in New Territories East.

The Legislative Council election is likely to return at least 18 pro-democracy lawmakers out of the 35 geographical constituency seats, with all eyes on whether Tanya Chan of the Civic Party can fight off businessman Ricky Wong Wai-kay and take the last seat in Hong Kong Island.

Chan, once a top poll favourite, suffered from last-minute calls from Occupy organiser Benny Tai Yiu-ting for democracy supporters to vote strategically in favour of the underperformers in polls

On the pro-establishment front, most of the results matched pollsters’ predictions. Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee ran first in Hong Kong Island, as did Ann Chiang Lai-wan in Kowloon West.

Eunice Yung Hoi-yan helped New People’s Party, led by Ip, get a new seat in New Territories East.

The Labour Party’s Lee Cheuk-yan admitted defeat, saying his party was facing a crisis after he and Cyd Ho Sau-lan failed to retain their seats, leaving Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung as the sole representative in the legislature.

He used to focus on labour rights, while Ho and Cheung specialised in LGBT issues and the disability rights respectively.

“How could one person handle so many issues?” he said. “We need to figure a way out as losing seats would also mean a huge cut to our resources and community network.”


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