Date
15 December 2018
Members of the pro-democracy and pro-establishment camps are expected to turn out in full force in Sunday's by-election to fill the vacant Kowloon West seat in the Legislative Council. Photo: Bloomberg
Members of the pro-democracy and pro-establishment camps are expected to turn out in full force in Sunday's by-election to fill the vacant Kowloon West seat in the Legislative Council. Photo: Bloomberg

Pan-dems, pro-Beijing camp all set to square off once again

With the much-anticipated Legislative Council Kowloon West by-election just days away, the pro-democracy and the pro-establishment camps are firing on all cylinders to garner support for their candidates.

It is expected that members of both camps will turn out in full force and square off on Sunday, when every vote will count.

Pro-establishment contestant Chan Hoi-yan recently declared to the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) that Samuel Yung Wing-ki from the insurance industry, an incumbent member of the national committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), had sent some 10,000 messages to his insurance sector colleagues, through WhatsApp and WeChat, to solicit support for her in the by-election.

Meanwhile, Chan also disclosed to the REO that a Shenzhen Pingshan clansmen association in Hong Kong had sent 20,000 WhatsApp and WeChat messages to its members to urge them to vote for her.

Apart from massive online mobilization, it is said that a star-studded line-up of pro-establishment political heavyweights and former high-ranking government officials, including Chan’s former boss Dr. Ko Wing-man, will campaign for her.

Unlike the last by-elections back in March, in which there were four races underway simultaneously, this time there will only be one contest in Kowloon West.

Given that, as a pro-establishment figure has put it, they can concentrate all their “fire power” on mobilizing support for Chan in Kowloon West on Sunday.

As far as the pan-democrats are concerned, their “Plan B” candidate, Lee Cheuk-yan, is also mounting an all-out offensive both “online and off-line”.

Lee told us on Tuesday that while his online campaign is underway at full throttle, he has also invited key members of pro-democracy groups such as the Democratic Party and the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood (ADPL) to canvass the entire Kowloon West constituency along with him on election day.

As Lee pointed out, the most critical task lying before him at this point is to beat the indifference and disenchantment of voters so as to guarantee a high turnout.

Talking about his democracy camp rival Frederick Fung Kin-kee,  who is also in the race, Lee admitted that it would be very difficult to assess how Fung’s participation in the contest is going to affect his odds.

Some in the pro-establishment camp have pointed out that Fung would be able to derail Lee’s election bid and substantially boost Chan’s chances of winning if he manages to take 30,000 votes or more on Sunday.

And some pan-democrats also agreed that Fung may prove the biggest variable for their election prospects on Nov. 25, given his unrivaled popularity among old-time residents in Shek Kip Mei, Nam Cheong and Sham Shui Po, where many of the people would look at the candidate, and not the party, when voting.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov 21

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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JC/RC

Columnist of Hong Kong Economic Journal.

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