The pan-democrats failed to win back a lost seat in the Legislative Council after the pro-establishment candidate clinched Sunday’s by-election for the Kowloon West geographical constituency.
Chan Hoi-yan, a former journalist and political assistant to Dr. Ko Wing-man when he was the food and health secretary, received the highest number of votes, 106,457, in the poll, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing the results announced by the Registration and Electoral Office (REO) at 3:18 a.m. on Monday, or nearly five hours after polling ended.
The defeat of the pan-democrats was the second in a row this year after Edward Yiu Chung-yim lost to his opponent Vincent Cheng Wing-shun of the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong in the by-election for the same constituency on March 11.
The setback means the opposition will not be able to exercise veto power against government proposals under the existing split voting system until the next Legco election in 2020 at least.
Former lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan of the Labour Party, who replaced pan-democrat Lau Siu-lai as the candidate for the pan-democratic camp after she was disqualified, came in second by garnering 93,047 votes in the race, or 13,410 votes behind Chan.
Lau was ousted last year for improper oath-taking in October 2016, and tried to regain her seat but was disqualified by the returning officer on the grounds that she had advocated self-determination for Hong Kong.
Veteran pro-democracy politician Frederick Fung Kin-kee, the former chairman of the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood, got 12,509 votes.
Even if Fung did not run in the election to boost Lee’s chances in the race, the pro-establishment camp would probably still have won the seat because the combined votes of Lee and Fung only reached 105,556, or 901 votes behind Chan’s.
Two other independent candidates, Ng Dick-hay and Judy Tzeng Li-wen, garnered 1,650 and 1,307 votes respectively.
Justice Barnabas Fung Wah, chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission, said after the announcement of the election results that the by-election “was conducted in an open, fair and honest manner”, adding polling and the vote counting process went smoothly overall.
Speaking to media after her proclamation, Chan said her victory signified that voters wanted social harmony and livelihood issues should be given the highest priority.
The newly elected lawmaker said she will raise those issues to Legco as soon as possible.
Apologizing to his supporters, Lee said he will heed the voices of those who did not vote for him. At the same time, he said Hongkongers may feel disappointed about the final outcome but should not give up fighting.
“As long as people do not quit, there will always tomorrow,” Lee said.
Fung, on the other hand, said the by-election results showed that he did not “snatch” votes from Lee as their combined votes still fell short of Chan’s total, dismissing accusations that his decision to join the race split the pan-democratic camp.
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