Independents seen as vote stealers

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 November, 2007, 12:00am

The pan-democrats are worried that self-styled 'independent democrats' could cost them votes in the district council elections.

And a trade unionist legislator criticised the government for its 'cold attitude' towards the election.

Pan-democrats said at a press conference they were worried about the 'lukewarm' atmosphere of the elections next Sunday.

'It is worrying that there may be a low turnout rate,' Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong, of the Power for Democracy, said. 'The winning chances for pan-democrats would be at a discount if the turnout cannot meet the previous figure.' The turnout in the 2003 district council elections was 44.1 per cent.

Mr Tsoi said a low turnout in the election might be interpreted as Hongkongers not supporting universal suffrage in 2012.

Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said the number of candidates who called themselves 'independent democrats' had increased this year.

Most of them, contesting one fourth of the constituencies, said they supported universal suffrage in 2012.

Legislator Lee Cheuk-yan, of the Confederation of Trade Unions, criticised the government for its 'cold attitude' towards the district council elections, saying the atmosphere lacked enthusiasm.

The Frontier legislator Emily Lau Wai-hing said the government had not properly educated the public about the elections.

A Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau spokeswoman said a programme to raise public awareness and encourage voter registration was organised for every election.