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Saturday, August 20, 2016, 00:16

Election on HK Island is intriguing

By Joseph Li

HONG KONG - Competition in the Hong Kong Island (HKI) constituency of the Legislative Council election is heating up – with rival political camps vying to win more seats than their opponents.

This year the number of seats to be returned from the HKI constituency is reduced from seven to six. The Electoral Affairs Commission said this is due to a decreasing population.

The number of voters is similar to previous years, and yet the reduction has disrupted the election plans of both camps.

Earlier, the “pan-democratic” and pro-establishment camps were expected to equally share the six seats until Ricky Wong Wai-kay, chairman of the Hong Kong Television Network, stepped in.

An eloquent, outspoken and somewhat charismatic person with middle-class appeals, Wong consistently scores high ratings in election polls. He will most certainly win, but may pull votes from Cyd Ho Sau-lan (Labour Party) and Hui Chi-fung (Democratic Party).

According to the University of Hong Kong’s latest poll, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee of the New People’s Party (NPP) tops the candidate list with 27 percent of support, followed by Tanya Chan Suk-chong (Civic Party) with 18 percent and Ricky Wong with 12 percent.

Further below are Cyd Ho with 11 percent, Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) with 7 percent, Hui Chi-fung with 6 percent and Aron Kwok Wai-keung from the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKFTU) with 4 percent. The other eight tickets are unlikely to win according to the poll.

The poll’s accuracy has been queried by many people. The daily results are fluctuating, often suggesting one candidate will win a seat one day then the next day indicating he will lose.

Assuming the latest poll is accurate, Regina Ip’s ticket will win two seats, benefiting Southern District Councilor Judy Chan Ka-pui on the second place of NPP’s ticket.

Tanya Chan, Ricky Wong and Cyd Ho will also win, while Horace Cheung, who is the DAB’s sole HKI candidate, will board the last train.

It is getting increasingly difficult for a single ticket to win two seats due to fierce competition and fragmentation of the non-establishment camp, comprised of the moderate opposition, radical and localist divisions. The last time a single ticket winning two seats happened in the HKI constituency was in 2008 when Tanya Chan combined with Audrey Eu Yuet-mee to clinch 82,600 votes.

Hong Kong Island is considered the city’s political and finance center, with more residents who are rational, moderate in views, better educated and desiring of stability.

What candidates will they – who were victims of the 79-day illegal blockage of roads in 2014 – choose this time? Is the illegal occupation still fresh in their minds?

The Democratic Party candidate Hui Chi-fung appears to be sinking. Besieged by negative news, Hui’s style reportedly offended senior party members in Central and Western District and they refuse to campaign for him. Hui also misused the district council allowances as bonuses for his assistants.

The Democratic Party had a chance to replace him but decided to stick to the original candidates. If he loses, it will put an end to the party’s influence on HKI.

Other candidates running for the HKI constituency are Wong Chi-him, Lau Gar-hung, Chim Pui-chung, Cheng Kam-mun, Law Kwun-chung, Shum Chee-chiu, Chui Chi-kin and Paul Zimmerman.

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