Unexpected Victory for Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Group in Election Committee Member Selection

By Lin Yi, Epoch Times
December 14, 2006 12:00 am Last Updated: December 14, 2006 12:00 am

Hong Kong—Final results for the 2006 Hong Kong Chief Executive Election Committee were published on December 11, 2006. The Pro-Democracy group came out ahead, winning 114 out of 137 seats. This majority vote of confidence will give the group enough seats to secure a Pro-Democracy Candidate for the Hong Kong Chief Executive election. This will be a first for the Pro-Democracry Party in Hong Kong.The party is cautiously optimistic, and is critical of the fact that the Executive election is determined by a small group of politicians, and calls the situation unfair. The Pro-democracy group will appeal to make the elections be held in a “one man one vote” representation as soon as possible.

The Pro-Democracy victory was deemed by some as unexpected. The group not only obtained the 114 seats in the election committee, but also won all seven of the most intensely contested precincts. In addition, 20 Legislative Councilors were automatically elected in addition to the majority. This gives the Pro-Democracy Party control over 134 seats in the Election Committee, which has a total of 800 seats. On December 11, the Civic Party and the Democratic Party held a joint press conference to thank voters for their support.

Hong Kong is Old Enough to Vote

Tong Ka Wah, Civic Party Legislative lawmaker, said the success rate for the Pro-democracy group in this election is 83 percent. If the election had been a general election, it would be a landslide victory. Tong said, “The current system is very twisted, it is a harsh situation, [and] cannot to be compared with a fair election. Under such difficult circumstances where the voting rate is not as high as expected, we still got such great results in many important sub-sectors. We thank the Hong Kong citizens.”

Democratic Party Legislative lawmaker Yeung Sum stressed that the election still does not represent the larger population at this time. “Only 220,000 people voted, it is definitely unfair to Hong Kong. Hong Kong is such a mature civil society; we should have one man one vote representation as soon as possible. If we can achieve that, I believe the future Chief Executive will do much better work than now.”

Clear Message for Direct Voting

Yeung Sum pointed out that not only was their strategy for this election successful, the Hong Kong people's quest for democracy was expressed clearly.

“This election was held as the economy was recovering, but the only people who were allowed to vote were various public interest and professional groups. Are they more concerned about economy than politics because Hong Kong is an economic city? The election result shows very clearly that besides their own lives and the Hong Kong economy, these people in the economic circle and middle class were the only ones allowed to vote. But even though they were the only ones allowed to vote, they also care about democratic participation and a democratic government for all people, not just themselves.”

Yeung also pointed out that, this election was only a start; its result clearly indicated that the Hong Kong people are looking forward to the 2012 general election. It is clear that the people of Hong Kong want two-party elections for the office of Chief Executive, and open elections in the future, he said.

Cautious Optimistism

But Yeung says that there are still a few months to go before the Chief Executive Election in March 2007. The Communist regime is expected to interfere, as it has in the past, but he expressed cautious optimism that the democratic camp will eventually obtain the candidate nomination.

Yeung said, “Many things could happen in the mean time, especially in the Liaison Office of the Central Government in Hong Kong. I believe they will use everything they've got to influence the election, because this nomination is open, your name will be known; if you really support Alan Leong (the pro-democracy candidate in the leadership race), we are concerned that something may happen, some votes will be lost; but as a whole, we will continue to work hard.”

Alan Leong, the pro-democracy candidate, said he was encouraged by the election result, and sais he is confident he would get 100 nominations from the Election Committee member, the minimum requirement for him to get ballot in March 2007. Leong said, “Hong Kong people's request for two-party contest for the position of Chief Executive is clear and loud; and I feel people who came to vote yesterday also made a important vote for Hong Kong's future democracy, these two messages are extremely important to me.”

Alan Leong vs. Donald Tsang

Political scientist James Sung from the City University of Hong Kong said that judging from the election result, Alan Leong will definitely get on the ballot in March. If Donald Tsang, current Chief Executive, wants to keep his position, there will be a fight.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong Department of Government and Public Administration Associate Professor Ma Ngok said that the election result was beyond the pro-democracy group's expectation. They won subsectors they had no confidence in, including accountant, information technology, engineering, and others. “This reflects that Hong Kong's professional groups in many fields all are very strongly calling for a democratic general election and at the same time, they are also hoping that there will be competition in the next Chief Executive election.”

Ma believes that before the March Chief Executive election, the Pro-democracy group election committee members would face all kinds of pressure. But it would not be easy for Beijing to hinder their nominations, because Beijing would have to influence 30 to 40 committee members to change the tide. It would be difficult to convince 30 to 40 election committee members not to support Alan Leong. At the same time, the voter's quest is so clear, and the Member of the Election Committee will know they have to pay a huge political price if they go against the will of the people, so they will not dare to do so.”

It is expected that the election result will put a lot of pressure on the communist regime. Some scholars estimate that the current situation may force the incumbent Chief Executive Donald Tsang to announce his candidacy earlier.