Landslide emboldens dems

Top News | Jane Cheung 26 Nov 2019

The pro-democracy camp snatched 85 percent of all district council seats, gaining a majority for the first time since the handover.

Political scholar Ivan Choy Chi-keung from the Chinese University of Hong Kong said yesterday pan-democrats' overwhelming victory "will definitely mean more resources for the camp and bring more support to protesters, such as hiring them as assistants in their offices."

The camp is expected to receive HK$1.7 billion from each councilor's monthly salary of HK$33,950 and office expenses of HK$44,816, with Democratic Party and Civic Party leaders saying they would consider hiring protesters who lost their jobs.

Choy said the results showed that citizens saw the election as a referendum on the anti-fugitive protests that have entered the 25th week.

"They used their votes to show their stance against the government's performance and police brutality," he said, adding the victory was expected to put pressure on the government and Beijing in responding to demands made by protesters.

"Now that the protest is endorsed by voters, morale is high. Both the pan-democrats and protesters are ready to stretch protests into a long-term fight," he said.

"But an even larger backlash may happen if the elected district councilors don't do as well as voters have expected, in terms of regional and political performance."

Asked if the pan-democrat victory would help Hong Kong's democratic development, Choy said it would still depend on Beijing's political agenda on Hong Kong, but he is pessimistic about restarting political reform amid conservative national principles.

The opposition captured 388 out of 452 seats (86 percent), compared with 59 seats won by the pro-establishment camp, while the remaining five were taken by independents.

Pro-dems secured a majority in 17 out of 18 districts, excluding the Islands District Council, and won all elected seats in Tai Po and Wong Tai Sin.

They also gained more than 90 percent of elected seats in Central and Western, Eastern and Sha Tin districts.

More than 1.67 million votes went to the pan-dems, and 1.2 million to the pro-establishment camp for a ratio of 57 to 41.

The Democratic Party became the biggest party in district councils, winning 91 seats - more than double the figure in 2015 - among 99 candidates from the party.

The Civic Party holds the second most seats, with 32 out of 36 candidates winning.

Eighty newbies, protest supporters and former student leaders in the 2014 Occupy Central were elected.

The Civic Human Rights Front said the election results showed pro-establishment politicians were penalized by voters for supporting police violence and Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's administration.

It pointed to the defeat of pro-establishment independent Junius Ho Kwan-yiu as an indication of people saying no to violence.

"Citizens have clearly expressed their opinions. Stop besieging the Hong Kong Polytechnic University now, release all arrested protesters, respond to 'five demands, not one less,' stop instructing the police to end unrest with violence and reform the force!" the front said in a statement.

Pan-democrats also called for the government and the pro-establishment camp to respond to the five demands. "In the future, the camp will make all endeavors to make police accountable for police brutality and fight for an independent commission of inquiry," pan-dems said.

The largest pro-establishment party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, saw its seats slashed to 21 from 119 in 2015.

After sending 181 candidates to run in the elections, prominent DAB figures lost out, including duo-members in the district councils and Legislative Council Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan, Holden Chow Ho-ding, Vincent Cheng Wing-shun and Edward Lau Kwok-fun.

Survivors of the party mainly served "wealthy districts," including the rich residential area on top of Kowloon MTR Station or constituencies that have been occupied by DAB members for decades.

The pro-establishment Liberty Party also managed to retain all seats in Mid-Levels, Happy Valley and Braemar Hill.

A former political assistant in the Education Bureau, Jeremy Young Chit-on, of the Liberal Party won with 2,422 votes, 69 percent, in The Peak constituency.

The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, which had 62 candidates, saw only five winners.

Signature names and duo-councilors Alice Mak Mei-kuen, Michael Luk Chung-hung and Jonathan Ho King-ming lost their district seats.

Voter turnout reached a historic high of 71.2 percent - much higher than the average 40 percent in previous years. More than 2.94 million citizens voted.

More reports:

Dems descend on PolyU demanding cops end siege

Dominant Dems stand by five demands

Strategy rethink for a once-formidable camp

Humbled Lam says she'll listen and hopes poll-spurred peace takes hold

'Crisis' seen in Legco election

Crushing blow for top bets

Pro-democracy sweepstakes see old, new faces win office

Editorial:

Tsunami awash with challenges

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