There are two ways Leung Chun-ying can look at Sunday’s Legco elections — a win and a loss.
Leung quickly claimed victory for himself after his pro-Beijing allies kept 40 seats in the legislature and the so-called ABC (Anyone But CY) camp lost two of its own.
Interestingly, Leung and Zhang Xiaoming, Beijing’s top official in Hong Kong, had targeted a two-thirds super majority (47 seats) and three of his key allies lost — a setback any way you slice it.
That magic number would have vaulted Leung over the filibuster threshold.
But the clear losses came in the emergence of localists, his sworn enemy, and the fact the opposition held their own despite having to go up against the wildly popular newcomers.
That means the opposition has enough numbers to stop Leung ramming his programs through the chamber including his signature political reform plan, national security legislation and patriotic education.
Note that Leung had tied any decision to run for a second term to the outcome of these elections.
By claiming victory a day after the full results were announced, Leung gave the surest indication he intends to seek reelection.
But before he gets too excited, he might want to look at the numbers again and examine what these mean.
Opposition winners and Leung’s opponents from the pro-Beijing camp collectively garnered 1.29 million popular votes, more than half of the turnout — a clear electoral mandate to stop Leung.
Sure, two of his most vocal critics — Ricky Wong and James Tien — lost but the emergence of the pro-independence faction does little to untangle things for Leung.
Nathan Law of Demosisto and Baggio Leung and Yau Wai-ching of Youngspiration more than make up for those losses with their street-fight politics.
Then, there is the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), the biggest single bloc in the chamber with 12 seats.
It has refused to endorse Leung for a second term and has instead expressed its support for its founding chairman, Tsang Yok-sing, the past Legco president.
The newly elected lawmakers will automatically become members of the 1,200-strong electoral committee which will choose the next chief executive in 2017 if Beijing decides to open the floor to other candidates.
Suppose Tsang went up against Leung, there could be more than 46 lawmakers who would not be suporting the latter — not a pretty picture to officials in Beijing.
Last week, pro-Beijing newspaper Sing Pao Daily News accused Leung and Zhang of meddling in election affairs after several localist candidates were thrown out of the running.
When their critics in Beijing weigh in, they could be held responsible for the outcome of the elections.
So it was quite strange for Leung to put himself up for special mention. He was being too far ahead of himself.
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