Date
11 December 2017
The pro-Beijing camp wants to take advantage of its current majority to secure passage of its proposed amendments under the split voting system. Photo: HKEJ
The pro-Beijing camp wants to take advantage of its current majority to secure passage of its proposed amendments under the split voting system. Photo: HKEJ

Pan-dems’ by-election chances uncertain amid infighting

The adjournment of last week’s Legislative Council meeting due to a lack of quorum was just a sideshow of the ongoing battle between the pan-democrats and the pro-establishment camp over the latter’s bid to amend the existing Legco rules of procedure in order to ban filibusters.

The pro-Beijing camp wants to take advantage of its current majority in both the geographical and functional constituencies to secure passage of its proposed amendments under the split voting system.

To prevent the pro-Beijing bloc from succeeding, the pan-democrats have been stalling the vote on the amendments by every possible means until the Legco by-elections scheduled for next March, hoping that they can reclaim their lost seats and retake control of the geographical constituencies, thereby derailing the pro-Beijing camp’s bid to revamp the Legco meeting rules.

So far, however, the election prospects of the pro-democracy camp are anything but promising thanks to fragmentation, infighting and indecision among the different factions of the camp.

Perhaps nothing exemplifies the divisions more than the chaotic situation in the geographical constituency of Kowloon West.

At present, Frederick Fung Kin-kee of the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood, Ramon Yuen Hoi-man of the Democratic Party and the non-affiliated Ken Tsang Kin-chiu are among those aggressively seeking the seat formerly held by Yau Wai-ching of Youngspiration.

Ousted lawmaker Dr. Lau Siu-lai has said that she would give up her candidacy if Youngspiration decided to field a candidate.

After Yuen Kin-yan, whom Yau backed, suddenly announced last Thursday that he would drop out of the race (Editor’s note: the latest development is that former Democratic Party member and incumbent Southern District councilor Au Nok-hin expressed his intention to run only to have a change of heart), it remains to be seen whether Lau Siu-lai would change her mind and return to the race.

If she did, it would exacerbate the chaos in Kowloon West and further undermine the election prospects of the pro-democracy camp.

According to conventional wisdom, under the “single-seat, single-vote” system, the pan-democrats have a definite advantage over the pro-Beijing camp, provided they can agree on a single candidate to represent them.

Unfortunately, judging from recent signs, the pro-democracy camp possibly remains as divided as ever.

Unless the pan-democrats manage to miraculously put aside their differences and stick together over the next few months, their odds of taking back their lost seats are highly doubtful.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov. 24

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

– Contact us at [email protected]

JC/RA

Hong Kong Economic Journal

EJI Weekly Newsletter

Please click here to unsubscribe