The pan-democratic camp is stepping up efforts to wage a strong battle as it seeks to win back the Legislative Council seats it lost last year due to disqualification of some candidates.
Through primaries held on Sunday, the pan-democrats picked two candidates for the by-elections, which are due to be held in March, and said they will stand united behind those winners.
Power for Democracy, which is responsible for coordinating the primaries, announced on Monday that two former lawmakers will represent the pan-democrats in the battle for Kowloon West and New Territories East seats, Apple Daily reports.
Dr. Edward Yiu Chung-yim, former lawmaker from the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape functional constituency, who was disqualified along with three other pro-democracy lawmakers, won the Kowloon West primary that saw 12,000 people cast their votes.
Yiu, who had decided to switch his constituency, clinched 79 percent of the votes, beating his opponents－Ramon Yuen Hoi-man from the Democratic Party, a Sham Shui Po District Council member; and former lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee from the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood.
In the New Territories East primary, former Neo Democrats lawmaker Gary Fan Kwok-wai won support from 59 percent of the nearly 14,000 voters in that primary, surpassing the other two competitors－Labour Party Chairman Steven Kwok Wing-kin and Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, former member of the Hong Kong Federation of Students standing committee.
All the defeated contenders said they will fully support Yiu and Fan in the by-elections, and called on all pro-democracy people to do the same.
According to the Electoral Affairs Commission, by-elections will be held on March 11 to fill four Legco seats left vacant by pro-democracy lawmakers, who were disqualified by the High Court in July last year for improper oath-taking in 2016.
The vacancies include three geographical constituencies－Hong Kong Island, Kowloon West and New Territories East－and one for a functional constituency, namely the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape constituency.
Yiu said his victory represents a clear endorsement from citizens. He said he was touched as he saw voters willing to wait nearly an hour in long lines to cast their votes and show their determination to fight for democracy.
The enthusiastic voter turnout tells the world that Hongkongers oppose Beijing’s law interpretation, which had paved the way for disqualification of some pro-democracy legislators, he said.
Fan, who failed in his bid to be re-elected in the Lego election in 2016, pointed out that the pan-democratic camp had in an unprecedented fashion prepared for the primaries for more than 10 months.
The work suggests that the camp now has an established primary mechanism, which allows its supporters to be more united to fight against the rival pro-establishment camp, he said.
The Democratic Party, which Fan left in 2010 due to difference of opinion, said it will support Fan for the sake of winning back the lost pan-democratic seats in Legco.
Party chairman Wu Chi-wai stressed that voters’ choice is the only thing that matters.
As for the contests for the other two seats, the pan-democratic camp is inclined to recommend Agnes Chow Ting, a member of pro-democracy party Demosistō, for the Hong Kong Island seat.
For the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape functional constituency, Paul Zimmerman, a member of the Southern District Council, is tipped as the candidate.
The nomination period opened on Tuesday and will run until January 29.
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