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  • Election upset bows pan-dems: Pro-Beijing camp scores unprecedented geographical victory
    Date:2018-03-13 

    The pro-establishment camp notched up a first win in a geographical constituency by-election by trouncing disqualified lawmaker Edward Yiu Chung-yim.

    Vincent Cheng Wing-shun romped to victory in what commentators believe is the despair of pro-democracy supporters over the 2014 Occupy Movement.

    People now generally believe that such efforts to secure democracy lead to failure and a decrease in pan-democrat supporters among voters.

    The pan-democrats had targeted taking all four seats in the by-elections, including the seats originally held by Nathan Law Kwun-chung in Hong Kong Island, Sixtus Leung Chung-hang in New Territories East, Yau Wai-ching in Kowloon West and Edward Yiu Chung-yim in the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape sector.

    But Cheng, a Sham Shui Po district councilor of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, broke their dream of recapturing Kowloon West by getting 107,479 votes and surprisingly defeating Yiu, who shifted to geographical constituency and got 105,060 votes, a narrow margin of 2,419 votes.

    Former legislator Tony Tse Wai-chuen also retook the functional constituency seat by getting 2,929 votes and defeating independent Paul Zimmerman, who got only 2,345 votes.

    Pan-democrats managed to win the other two. The Neo Democrats' Gary Fan Kwok-wai secured 183,762 votes to beat Bill Tang Ka-piu of the Federation of Trade Unions, who got only 152,904 votes, in New Territories East constituency, a comfortable 30,858-vote margin.

    Pan-democrat Au Nok-hin won 137,181 votes, beating his Southern District Council colleague Judy Chan Ka-pui of the New People's Party by only 9,547 on Hong Kong Island.

    The by-election war ended 2-2 for the two camps, giving the pro-establishment first-time by-election wins.

    The pro-democracy camp failed to defend the 6:4 ratio - the ratio of votes it can get in a geographical election against the pro-government camp.

    Although Au on Hong Kong Island defeated Chan, the winning margin was only 50.7 percent. Fan got only 44.57 percent. All pro-democracy candidates got fewer votes than the camp did in 2016.

    Au won only 137,184 votes, compared with the camp's 158,593 votes in 2016, and Fan won only 183,762, a big drop from 2016's 272,618.

    Political commentator Ma Ngok admitted it was a defeat for the camp as the margin from the pro-government camp is getting narrower.

    "Disqualification should have angered a lot of voters but it's proven wrong, as using disqualification alone couldn't mobilize many voters," Ma said.

    The vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, Lau Siu-kai, agrees that the disqualifications did not arouse many pan-democrat supporters to vote, and the traditional advantage of pan-democrats at the polls is fading.

    The chairwoman of the DAB, Starry Lee Wai-king, described Cheng's victory as a miracle, adding that although Cheng won only by a thin margin, the overall result showed that voters disagreed with distorting the oath-taking by the democrats.

    "The results fall within our expectations, though it's been hard to achieve."

    Former chairman of the DAB Tam Yiu-chung, who was still in Beijing for the National People's Congress meeting, mocked Yiu for being disqualified the second time.

    "The pro-democracy camp called on voters to support Yiu because Yiu was disqualified, but this tactic has proven to be a failure," Tam said.

    After the election, the pro-democracy camp has 16 geographical seats, against 17 for the pro-government camp.

    This means they have also failed to reclaim the geographical constituency's veto power - meaning the camp cannot block pro-government lawmakers' proposals such as amending rules of procedures.

    It will not affect the passing of important bills such as political reform though, as it requires a two-thirds Legislative Council majority.

    The camp has 25 legislators, not counting Pierre Chan Pui-yin of medical sector.



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