Monday, 12 December 2016

Voting for Change

Counting votes in the various professional subsectors for the Election Committee
To say we are pleased with the pan-democrats doing so well in yesterday's election to choose who will be part of the 1,194-member Election Committee is an understatement. And probably many people in Hong Kong will agree.

A record 326 seats were won by pan-democrats, when they were hoping for 300, making the pan-democratic voice worth around 25 percent of the overall seats in the Election Committee.

This compares to 2011 when they only won 211 seats.

A lot of things have changed since then.

John Tsang resigned today, getting close to his campaign run
As we mentioned yesterday, people are becoming more politically active, and in this case, professionals in Hong Kong are very concerned about the eroding rights and freedoms in the city and are keen on universal suffrage.

Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political scientist at Chinese University, said pan-democrats' victories in professional subsectors showed that the days when Hong Kong professionals only cared for the interests of their respective sectors are gone.

"The basis of the governance in Hong Kong would be undermined if Beijing does not take measures to address the alienation of professionals in Hong Kong," he said.

The pan-democrats won big in legal, education, higher education, health services and welfare subsectors. They also secured seats in accountancy, and architectural and surveying, and even Chinese medicine, previously a pro-Beijing stalwart.

Not much has been heard from former Judge Woo Kwok-hing
Another political scientist at Chinese University, Ma Ngok, added the individual votes by these professionals also showed middle class discontent.

"They are unhappy with the government and current political system," he said. "The  next administration should find ways to rebuild the professionals' confidence towards the government."

The speculation over who will run (and who will win) continues. Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor continues to be a favourite because she is a moderate, while John Tsang is inching ever closer to launching his campaign bid by resigning this afternoon as Financial Secretary.

Although she has yet to formally declare herself in the race, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee has already welcomed the growing pool of possible candidates.

Retired judge Woo Kwok-hing was a refreshing choice early on, but now he seems to be fading into the background, particularly because it doesn't seem that he has any backing from Beijing.

Nevertheless, it's very promising to see the results of Election Committee vote -- everyone is taking these exercises very seriously and it shows how serious many are about creating change within the system. 

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