As the disqualified lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung is determined to take his judicial review lawsuit to the Court of Final Appeal, which might take years to finish, it appears the pan-democrats are quite unlikely to have any chance to reclaim their lost seat in the New Territories East before the 2020 Legco election.
Intriguingly, though, the indefinite postponement of the Legco by-election for the vacant seat of the geographical constituency of New Territories East due to ongoing court proceedings should be welcome news for Bill Tang Ka-piu as well as the Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) to which he belongs.
As some in the FTU have explained, it would probably be in the best political interests of Tang and the Federation for the next by-election in the New Territories East to never materialize, or else it would inevitably become a headache for them.
New Territories East, as they have pointed out, has long been a pan-democratic stronghold, which means whoever represents the pro-Beijing camp to run against the pan-dems over there would always be at a huge disadvantage.
For example, even though both the FTU and the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) had spared no effort in campaigning for Tang, who eventually snapped up over 150,000 votes, he still lost to Gary Fan Kwok-wai of the Neo Democrats by some 30,000 votes on March 11.
That said, even if “Long Hair” did withdraw his lawsuit to allow another by-election to be held shortly, Tang’s chances of winning would still be as remote as they were in last month’s exercise.
However, the catch is, if another New Territories East by-election did come true and Tang did run again, he would have to make sure he gets no less than 150,000 votes, something that nobody can guarantee, or else his underperformance could cost him his candidacy for the 2020 Legco election, the race which he is truly eyeing.
And if another scenario happened in which Tang took a backseat in the by-election and allowed another pro-establishment candidate to run, he could also risk losing his candidacy for the 2020 election if that candidate outperformed him and took more votes than he did back on March 11.
Therefore, either way, they said, Tang and the FTU would face considerable political risks.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 29
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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