Date
20 August 2017
Barnabus Fung and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam (right)  are shown at the vote-counting center. Fung had no comment about the record turnout. Photo: RTHK
Barnabus Fung and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam (right) are shown at the vote-counting center. Fung had no comment about the record turnout. Photo: RTHK

Pro-democracy push spurs record turnout in subsector polls

A final push by pro-democracy forces helped achieve a record turnout in the election committee subsector election on Sunday, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

As of 10:30 p.m., the close of Sunday’s voting, the turnout rate was 46 percent, up 18 percentage points from the previous election in 2011. 

It was also the highest turnout in three subsector elections. 

About 107,000 among more than than 230,000 registered voters showed up at polling stations to select 733 people from 25 subsectors to represent them in the 1,200-member election committee.

The subsectors for health services; accounting; architectural, surveying, planning and landscape; and several others saw their turnout rise significantly, with the health services turnout more than doubling.

The highest rate — 95 percent — came in the district councils subsector, followed by the Heung Yee Kuk (90 percent), which represents establishment interests in the New Territories, and hotels (85 percent).

The abrupt announcement on Friday by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying that he will not seek a second term in office, had an impact on the vote, according to reports.

Leung’s announcement opened the way for a tighter competition for Hong Kong’s top job, observers said. The election committee will choose the next chief executive on March 26, 2017.

The pro-democracy camp, convinced a strong turnout will improve their chances, pushed hard and got 351 candidates in 14 subsectors, giving them greater influence in deciding the next leader.

The results of the election are expected to be unveiled by the Electoral Affairs Commission on Monday afternoon.

Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macau Studies, said the higher turnout rate could be partly attributed to the pro-democracy camp’s efforts to get out the vote.

Ma Ngok, a political commentator from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said Leung’s announcement not to seek a second term spurred the turnout rate, with many voters realizing their vote has become worth more, according to Apple Daily.

Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a senior lecturer in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the high turnout rate reflected the fact that more professionals, or the social elites, used their ballot to show discontent at the government under Leung’s leadership.

EAC chairman Justice Barnabas Fung Wah declined to comment on the turnout.

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TL/AC/RA

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