23 October 2018
Candidates have begun to pitch themselves to voters with the Legco by-elections scheduled for March next year. Photo: HKEJ
Candidates have begun to pitch themselves to voters with the Legco by-elections scheduled for March next year. Photo: HKEJ

Controversial issues could undermine pro-Beijing candidates

With the Legco by-elections in the geographical constituencies of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon West and New Territories East scheduled for March next year, the pro-establishment camp is firing on all cylinders pitching its candidates to voters.

For example, election banners and posters of two pro-establishment candidates Vincent Cheng Wing-shun representing the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) and Bill Tang Ka-piu representing both the DAB and the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions are all over the place in Kowloon West and New Territories East, respectively.

In the meantime, Judy Chan Ka-pui of the New People’s Party who is running in the Hong Kong Island constituency has also kick-started her campaign recently.

In contrast, members of the pro-democracy camp remain stuck and undecided over whether or not to hold primaries among themselves in order to arrange for a single candidate to run for them.

Worse still, even though they have agreed to give priority to Demosistō for the Hong Kong Island seat, the party hasn’t officially proposed any candidate so far.

Meanwhile, there is concern among the pan-democrats that given the fragmentation and intense conflicts among the various factions of the camp, it remains a big “if” whether any Demosistō candidate can truly rally support from voters across the democratic spectrum.

As such, there is a huge uncertainty hanging over the election prospects of the pro-democracy camp.

However, despite the fact that the pro-democracy camp is divided and wavering between candidates, the pro-establishment camp is hardly optimistic about its odds.

Some in the pro-establishment camp said that under the “single-seat, single-vote” system, the pan-democrats have a definite advantage over them.

Besides, while Vincent Cheng doesn’t have a strong pro-Beijing background, Bill Tang does, which could put Tang himself at a disadvantage.

Moreover, controversial subjects such as the “co-location arrangements”, the local legislation of the national anthem law and enactment of Article 23 of the Basic Law have become the focus of public attention recently, undermining the prospects of pro-Beijing candidates.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov 23

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.

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