Date
24 July 2017
Frederick Fung (L) of the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, and Lee Cheuk-yan and Cyd Ho of the Labour Party were among the losers in Sunday's Legco election. Photos: HKEJ
Frederick Fung (L) of the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, and Lee Cheuk-yan and Cyd Ho of the Labour Party were among the losers in Sunday's Legco election. Photos: HKEJ

Localist groups eat into traditional pan-democrats’ support base

Sunday’s Legislative Council election was remarkable on many levels in terms of the outcome, with the most noticeable feature being the rise of groups that call for localism or self-determination for Hong Kong.

The victory of a new generation of pro-democracy activists shows that many Hongkongers want a different kind of politics and better governance of the city, the Hong Kong Economic Journal noted.

Candidates from groups advocating localism or self-determination won about 410,000 votes in five geographical constituencies out of the 2.2 million valid ballots.

Six of the candidates from the groups got elected and will become lawmakers on Oct. 1.

LegCo will not only see some new blood, we can also expect the house to witness wider range of views and have a more intense anti-Beijing atmosphere.

What’s worth noting is that some of new pro-democracy candidates were elected with a high number of votes.

The list includes Eddie Chu Hoi-dick from the New Territories West constituency (84,121 votes), Lau Siu-lai in Kowloon West (38,183 votes) and Nathan Law in Hong Kong Island (50,818 votes).

Their victory suggests that the call that “Hong Kong should determine its future by itself” has been accepted by many voters.

The newcomers’ win, in many cases, came at the expense of the traditional and relatively milder pan-democratic parties such as Labour Party and the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood.

The Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood lost its only seat in Legco in the election.

Pan-democrats won only half of the total ballots cast for the non-pro-Beijing camp this time, compared to 70 percent in the last Legco election in 2012. That translated to a decrease of about 90,000 ballots.

As for the pro-Beijing camp, although it was not seriously impacted by the strong showing of young activists who support localism or self-determination, it failed to achieve its goal of winning absolute majority in LegCo as some sitting lawmakers lost their seats.

Political commentator Ma Ngok of the Chinese University of Hong Kong said the election results show that people want some new faces with new ideologies in the LegCo to act as a counterforce to the government.

The election results also make it clear that the traditional way of building long-term relationships with electors may not be that effective anymore.

Ma believes a reshuffle is possible among political parties, with some groups sharing common ideology likely to come under pressure to merge.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal

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