Monday, 10 September 2012

Gains and Losses

Civic Party's Tanya Chan's desperate plea for votes was ignored

The good news is that voter turnout yesterday was around 53 percent, nearly the highest voter turnout in Hong Kong's history for geographical constituencies.

As I mentioned yesterday, there was a steady trickle in where I live and it was reported some 300 voters still waiting to cast their votes when polls were closing at 10.30pm at Tseung Kwan O Integrated Social Service Centre. It's good to see people exercising their right to vote.

The bad news is that pro-democracy groups only won 27 of the 40 contestable seats in the 70-member Legislative Council which was disappointing despite Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying scrapping the three-year deadline for the introduction of national education.

The pro-democracy camp failed to capitalize on growing discontent of anti-mainland Chinese sentiment.

The parties "would've had sheer disaster if it hadn't been for the national education issue," said Michael DeGolyer, a political scientist at Hong Kong Baptist University. "They were too divided among themselves."

However the number of seats, which is proportionally about the same as in the 2008 election, is enough to veto major laws including constitutional changes.

Meanwhile pro-Beijing parties like the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) and the Federation of Trade Unions added seats. DAB is now at 13 seats from 10.

These parties seemed to be more organized, better funded and more strategic in how they were going to get votes.

The disappointing results for the pro-democratic camp have already led to the resignation of Albert Ho as chairman of the Democratic Party because it lost three seats from nine last time, while the second biggest group, Civic Party's incumbents Tanya Chan and Audrey Eu failed to win their seats back.

Albert Ho of the Democratic Party resigned as chairman today
Chan's campaign seemed desperate -- "Only YOU can keep Tanya in" with a black and white picture of her in a white T-shirt with her back to the viewer. Strange body language for a campaign poster. She seemed to assume the audience knew what the Civic Party was standing for.

More radical parties like People Power and League of Social Democrats gained two seats to five, which means we're going to see more crazy antics in the Legislative Council as well as protests and rallies, as they appeal more to young people.

The results of the vote mean LegCo is going to be as polarized as ever.

It's going to be a challenge for the government to placate such a wide variety of view points and it'll definitely keep it on its toes.

But in the end that's what we want -- accountability.

Some notables who were elected:

Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee (New People's Party)
Cyd Ho Sau-lan (Labour Party)
Jasper Tsang Yok-sing (DAB)
Wong Yuk-man (League of Social Democrats)
Alan Leong Kah-kit (Civic Party)
Paul Tse Wai-chun
Michael Tien Puk-sun (New People's Party)
Lee Cheuk-yan (Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China)
Leung Kwok-hung (League of Social Democrats)
Emily Lau Wai-hing (Democratic Party)
James Tien Pei-chun (Liberal Party)

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