Pro-establishment candidate wins Yau Tsim Mong DC bypoll

March 25, 2019 14:07
EAC chief Barnabas Fung (2nd from left) empties a ballot box after the bypoll for the Tai Nan Constituency of the Yau Tsim Mong District Council. BPA's Li Sze-man (inset, top) won the seat, besting Lee Kwok-kuen (inset, bottom). Photos: HK Govt, HKEJ

A candidate from the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA) has won a by-election Sunday for a seat on the Yau Tsim Mong District Council, adding to the strength of the pro-establishment camp in the local body.

Li Sze-man, a BPA community officer, received 1,343 votes in the poll for the Tai Nan constituency and won the seat, besting her sole opponent, Lee Kwok-kuen of the pro-democracy Community March, who garnered 1,134 votes.

The by-election was held to fill the vacancy left by former BPA member Francis Chong Wing-charn, who died in November last year.

On Sunday, at the close of polling at 10.30 pm 2,495 of the 7,257 registered electors of the constituency cast their votes, representing a turnout of 34.38 percent.

The turnout was 6.18 percentage points less than that seen in the District Council election for the constituency in 2015, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports, citing data released by the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC).

Sometime after 1 pm on Sunday, Lee acknowledged that lower voter turnout, compared to what the constituency saw in the 2015 District Council election and the 2018 Legislative Council Kowloon West by-election, suggested that the situation was not in the pan-democratic camp’s favor.

After the polling ended, Lee pointed out that the by-election still proved to be a close contest. He reiterated that his group will aggressively consider participating in the regular District Council election scheduled for Nov. 24, despite the seeming setback in the latest vote.

Li, meanwhile, said she had planned to continue serving residents in her constituency regardless of the by-election result. As for participation in the November election, she said it is too early to give her decision.

During the voting period, several lawmakers from the pro-establishment and pan-democratic camps showed up to canvass for the candidates they supported.

Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a senior lecturer at the department of government and public administration at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said Li had an advantage over Lee because Chong -- the deceased district councilor who served the constituency for many years -- had been her mentor.

That said, Choy believes little can be drawn from the result of Sunday’s by-election in relation to prediction of the outcome of the District Council election that is to be held later this year.

Meanwhile, Electoral Affairs Commission chairman Justice Barnabas Fung Wah told media on Sunday after visiting the polling stations that the commission received in the morning a total of 13 complaints in relation to the by-election.

Ten of the complaints were about alleged rule violation with regard to the candidates' election advertisements and their display, according to Fung.

Li and Lee, on their part, both claimed that they had detected situations that were unfair to them.

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