National education

Leung Chun-ying's backdown 'won't lessen impact on Legco poll'

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 September, 2012, 5:29pm

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's eve-of-poll climbdown over national education will do little to lessen the issue's impact on voting in today's Legislative Council election, a political observer said.

Chinese University political scientist Ma Ngok said Leung's announcement was "better than nothing at all", but would do little to help the electoral chances of pro-government candidates.

"The anger has been building up for the whole week, and it's not going to die down overnight. People will still be in an angry mood when they vote," said Ma. He said the turnout today could exceed the 45.2 per cent of four years ago.

"The row might also prompt those who are less interested in politics, such as parents, to cast their ballots," he said.

Yesterday, candidates made a final effort to drum up support before the polls open. Pan-democrats canvassed furiously for the votes they need to retain the one-third share of Legco seats required to block constitutional changes.

Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, running for one of five "super seats" to be filled by city-wide ballot, told supporters: "According to the polls, my popularity rating has dropped significantly, so I am in a very dangerous situation now … Please stabilise your support for me, otherwise I may lose."

A tracking poll conducted by the University of Hong Kong ranked Ho second, with 16 per cent support last month, but he is now third, with 9 per cent.

Frederick Fung Kin-kee, of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, also has 9 per cent support, according to the poll, but yesterday he was just as concerned about shoring up backing in Kowloon West for party colleague Tam Kwok-kiu.

The Federation of Trade Unions' Chan Yuen-han, who is also running for a "super seat", sought to shore up her vote in Kowloon East, where she is a district councillor. "Many voters complained to me because they received phone calls and were told they did not need to support me, but someone else," she said.