Mixed reaction as pan-democrats scoop more than a quarter of seats in Hong Kong election

Mixed reaction as pan-democrats scoop more than a quarter of seats in Hong Kong election

Some voters don’t think their participation will make a difference


Higher education Candidate Vera Yuen Wing-han (centre) of Academics in Support of Democracy at the Ballots for the 2016 Election Committee Subsector Ordinary Elections at the AsiaWorld-Expo.
Photo: SCMP/ Edward Wong

Voters had mixed reactions to the news that the pan-democrats had secured more than a quarter of the seats – the most they have ever had – in Sunday’s election.

The city marked a record turnout of 46 per cent in the election. Of 230,000 eligible voters, 107,000 cast ballots. The pan-democratic camp seized 326 of the 1,194 seats in the polls. In 2011 they had 205 seats. The committee will go on to pick the city’s leader on March 26 next year.

Legal subsector’s voter and barrister Wilson Leung Wan-shun, of the Progressive Lawyers Group, told Young Post earlier today that every vote was significant. 

There are 30 traditional functional constituency seats in Legco for business elites and professionals, elected by about 230,000 voters. Professionals who have registered in their subsectors were eligible to vote. For example, barrister Leung was able to vote in the legal subsector. Other professional subsectors include accountancy, social welfare, information technology, finance, transport, tourism and more. In contrast, the five “super seats” were elected by more than three million people who did not have a vote for any of the 30 functional seats.

“At least the voters have a say in next year’s election,” said Leung. He added that because a candidate needs more than 600 votes to win, 300 pan-democratic seats could be crucial.

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The 326 pan-democrats have never been more powerful in the election. That’s because the possibility of the pro-establishment camp might put three candidates forward. That would mean they risk splitting the vote.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah and New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee have all shown interest in the top job.

Leung said if the camp coordinated well in the election, they could nominate at least two pan-democratic candidates to join this “small-circle election” and split the vote. They could also vote for a candidate who would not continue Leung Chun-ying’s unfavourable policies.

An architectural subsector’s voter surnamed Chan said the polls on Sunday weren’t very clear because they didn’t know who their nominee would pick in the chief executive election. “We voted for someone who hasn’t endorsed anyone yet,” he said.

But Chan said the pan-democrats who had landslide victory in some subsectors could have quite an impact on the chief executive election.

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“I think these 326 seats in the committee are more representative as they were voted for by the professionals. The votes speak for our views, so I believe potential chief executive candidates would lobby pan-democrats to support their campaign,” said Chan.

Even so, some voters did not think their taking part in the “small-circle election” would make any difference.

A secondary school teacher surnamed Lee voted for the pan-democrats representing the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union whose political theories represent her views.

“The chief executive election is controversial as the winner is selected by the election committee. The Chinese government also makes sure all potential candidates are ‘politically correct’ before letting them have the top job. But if I didn’t vote, Beijing would just control the game,” Lee said, adding that she was looking for the next candidate to be someone who could halt the division and grievances in the city.


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