Date
23 March 2017
The Hong Kong government's Central Policy Unit is said to have conducted a survey recently to gauge voters' mood ahead of the September Legislative Council elections. Photos: Xinhua
The Hong Kong government's Central Policy Unit is said to have conducted a survey recently to gauge voters' mood ahead of the September Legislative Council elections. Photos: Xinhua

Candidates’ stand on Leung deemed key issue ahead of Legco polls

As Hong Kong heads for Legislative Council polls in September, a survey has suggested that people’s voting preferences could largely be influenced by the candidates’ stand on Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.

Nearly 57 percent of the respondents said their top consideration when their cast their votes in the Legco polls will be the candidates’ position with regard to whether they will oppose or support a fresh term for Leung, according to a report.

In the survey conducted by the Central Policy Unit (CPU), an advisory body for top Hong Kong government officials, 24.8 percent of respondents described the issue of the 2017 leadership race as “very important”, while 32 percent said it was “important”, news website hk01.com reported.

The survey, whose findings were not meant for the public, also showed that 44.7 percent of the respondents rated “Hong Kong Independence” as an important consideration when they will cast their votes for candidates in the upcoming Legco elections.

Lau Siu-kai, former head of the CPU, said he is not surprised by the survey results.

He also said that it is understandable that the CPU has chosen to conduct voter surveys as the issue of a second term for Leung will be a hot topic among candidates.

The survey was conducted between May 27 and June 1 on 568 registered voters.

While 39 percent of the respondents said their Legco voting won’t be based on the candidates’ stand on Leung, 70 percent of people aged 40 and nearly 90 percent of pan-democrat supporters rated it as an important factor.

According to the report, the survey results were only intended for Leung and several top secretaries.

It is said that 30 minutes after the results were dispatched to the short-list of recipients, the CPU recalled the messages and asked its audience to delete the messages received.

A CPU spokesperson did not comment on the reports, only reiterating that the think-tank collects public opinions on various political, economic and social issues via different channels on a regular basis and that the results are only for internal reference within the administration.

Lau said the opinions of the people of Hong Kong will not play a deciding role when the central government decides on who it will back in the chief executive race next year.

According to Apple Daily, the CPU has spent HK$22 million on public opinion surveys since the 2013/14 financial year.

The surveys were said to have been overseen by senior researcher Shiu Sin-por, a close ally of Leung Chun-ying.

The survey findings were seen only by top government officials, with the public left in the dark.

Lawmaker Kenneth Chan Ka-lok said the government is clearly trying to hide the survey results so as to avoid disputes and embarrassment.

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EL/AC/RC

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