Date
20 September 2017
DAB rising star Siu Ka-yi (in circle) has joined the government as political assistant to Chief Secretary Matthew. Her resignation as district councilor will trigger a by-election. Photo: HKEJ
DAB rising star Siu Ka-yi (in circle) has joined the government as political assistant to Chief Secretary Matthew. Her resignation as district councilor will trigger a by-election. Photo: HKEJ

Democrats’ victory in Tung Wah by-election not a done deal

Three more new faces have joined Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s team as politically accountable officials.

Among them is 34-year-old Siu Ka-yi, a rising star from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB).

It is said that Siu was highly recommended by Secretary for Home Affairs and party mate Lau Kong-wah for the position of political assistant in his bureau.

However, since Carrie Lam had reservations about allowing two pro-establishment figures from the same political party to serve in the same policy bureau simultaneously, Siu was appointed as political assistant to Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung instead.

Siu joined the DAB in 2006, was elected Central and Western district councilor representing the Tung Wah constituency in Sheung Wan in 2011, and got re-elected in 2015.

Her successive election victories were regarded by many in political circles as one of the major upsets in the District Council elections as the Tung Wah constituency, where voters are predominantly middle-class, had long remained a political stronghold of the Democratic Party.

Some critics have attributed her triumph over her Democratic rivals to her own refreshing image and hard work rather than the support of her party.

Siu’s appointment as a politically accountable official means she has to quit her current office as district councilor, and her resignation will trigger a by-election.

It is said that the Democratic Party is aggressively eyeing the by-election in the Tung Wah constituency and is determined to reclaim their lost territory.

According to lawmaker and district councilor Hui Chi-fung of the Democratic Party, it is likely that they are going to field a political rookie to run in the by-election. And given the party’s strong network and connections in the Tung Wah constituency, Hui is confident that their candidate will have a substantial advantage over other competitors.

However, it is still premature to conclude that winning the Tung Wah seat would be a slam-dunk for the Democrats, as there are other variables in the upcoming by-election, such as whether other pan-democratic parties or localist groups are going to compete for the seat as well.

If that is the case, the race may result in infighting among pro-democracy candidates, and their pro-establishment rivals will be fishing in troubled waters.

Hui believes the key to the Democrats’ victory in the upcoming by-election is for members of the pro-democracy camp to agree on a single candidate.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Aug. 23

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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BN/CG

Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.

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