Fending off strong competition, the Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu won the Legislative Council by-election in New Territories East on Sunday, allowing the party to retain its seat in the geographical constituency, Apple Daily reports.
The by-election was triggered by the resignation from Legco of Civic Party co-founder Ronny Tong Ka-wah on Oct. 1 last year when he quit the party over differences in principles.
The Electoral Affairs Commission announced the results at 5:15 a.m. Monday.
Yeung, a barrister, received 160,880 votes, beating his main rival, Holden Chow Ho-ding of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), a solicitor, who got 150,329 votes.
Edward Leung Tin-kei, a university student and core member of Hong Kong Indigenous who was among members of the localist group arrested for taking part in the Mong Kok clashes on the night of Feb. 8, came in a distant third, with 66,524 votes.
The combined number of votes won by Yeung and Leung, who are both considered pan-democrats, was close to the more than 230,000 won in the constituency by the pan-democratic camp in the Legco general election in 2012, when the pro-establishment camp took about 140,000 votes, fewer than those Chow won this time.
Yeung said he considered himself lucky and called Leung a respectable opponent.
The barrister was quoted by RTHK as saying he was very grateful and his victory suggested voters were willing to give the pan-democratic camp a last chance for further reform.
Leung, who apologized to his supporters, said the fact that he seized more than 60,000 votes is a warning sign to those in power, because it showed people are not afraid of the government but the other way around.
“The government, the political parties and mainstream media described us previously as ‘rioters’, and today, the ‘rioters’ have got 66,000 votes,” Leung said.
Meanwhile, Chow, a vice chairman of the DAB, said he respected the voters’ choice.
He said he is not considering at the moment standing as a candidate in the Legco general election in September but will continue to serve the citizens.
Political commentator Ma Ngok said the results showed that Beijing is achieving the opposite effect it intended with its strategy of tightening control over Hong Kong and oppressing radical forces.
More Hongkongers have been lured to groups advocating localism now that they feel the “one country, two systems” principle no longer works, said Ma, an assistant professor in the department of government and public administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
In the coming Legco election in September, Ma said parties in the pan-democratic camp need to coordinate better so as to grab more seats.
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