Friday, 2 September 2016

More Drama on the Hustings

Are you clear on who you're going to go vote for on Sunday?
This year's Legislative Council elections are already shaping up to be a wild ride -- and we haven't even voted yet.

First of all the Election Commission barred six people from becoming candidates because of their pro-independence views.

Then Ken Chow Wing-kan of the Liberal Party claimed a higher force was threatening him and people close to him -- a force so strong that it is even more powerful than the Liaison Office or the triads.

He was so scared he fled Hong Kong and doesn't plan to come back from the UK until after September 4.

Five pan-democrat candidates have suspended their campaigns
Now we have five pan-democrats pulled out of the race in the hopes of consolidating the pan-democratic vote.

The five are: Paul Zimmerman, Kalvin Ho Kai-ming, Sumly Chan Yuen-sum, Chu Chi-kin, and Suzanne Wu Sui-shan.

It seems so strange -- and desperate -- to do it three days before the vote -- why couldn't they have coordinated among themselves earlier? Surely they would have known that the sheer number of political parties was going to further dilute the vote especially for democratic-leaning parties, compared to one big pro-Beijing one (the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong).

And also, on Sunday, their names will still be on the ballot, so stopping their campaign isn't going to really help the situation at all, but further confuse people about who they want to vote for.

The chain of events started when Labour Party chairwoman Wu, contesting the Kowloon East constituency, said she wanted to set an example for her pro-democratic allies to "focus on the whole picture".

Zimmerman and fellow independent Chu, who beat DAB lawmaker Christopher Chung Shu-kun, stopped electioneering.

"I hope you will all consider your vote for democrats who are almost in," said Zimmerman in a statement, suggesting his supporters switch to Demosisto candidate Nathan Law Kwun-chung.

Then when it came to the functional constituency, where voters can also choose one candidate, two others dropped out, Civic Party's Chan, who funded his own campaign, as the party initially opposed his electioneering, announced he would stop campaigning after he had canvassed the Central area.

"[We] urge voters to utilize their wisdom and ensure that the pan-democrats retain three super seats," said party chairman Alan Leong Kah-kit.

Ho of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood also quit the race for a super seat.

The latest poll figures show the pan-democrats could only win 11 seats in the geographical constituencies, which is down from 18 in 2012, meaning they could lose their veto power.

Perhaps it's an indication the public is tired of the pan-democrats' filibustering, which caused a major backlog of bills from being passed in a shorter period of time.

From an observer point of view, this latest twist to the otherwise already exciting race, is making it hard for all of us to catch up, but also who do we vote for?

What else is going to happen from Friday evening to Sunday morning?!

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