Civic Party denies keeping other pan-democrat candidates out
The Civic Party has defended an election strategy that ended with two of its star members losing their seats.
It also rebutted criticism that its last-minute call for more votes might have contributed to a candidate from another pan-democratic party narrowly losing his Legco seat.
The Civic Party, which won six seats, is a big winner, gaining one more seat in the new legislature. It also replaced the Democrats as the only pan-democratic party to be represented in all five geographical constituencies.
But critics say its strategy of fighting for the second seat on its lists in the New Territories West and Hong Kong Island constituencies "wasted" about 40,000 votes that could have boosted the chances of the Democratic Party's Lee Wing-tat or other pan-democratic allies.
Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit, who was re-elected in Kowloon East, said they were merely fielding their best candidates.
The party was trying to repeat a strategy from four years ago, when former party chief Audrey Eu Yuet-mee clinched a second seat on a slate that listed then rising political star Tanya Chan as the first candidate.
This year, Eu contested New Territories West behind former medical sector lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki, while Tanya Chan ran in Hong Kong Island on a slate led by Kenneth Chan Ka-lok.
The plan failed to work this time. The Kwok-Eu partnership secured 72,185 votes, above the 55,401 required for Kwok to win but falling short of the 90,000 that would have ensured a second seat for Eu.
On Hong Kong Island, the Kenneth Chan-Tanya Chan slate won 70,475 ballots, above the 47,270 required for the first seat but 4,100 short of clinching the second.
Eu countered criticism of the strategy: "Voters are not our tools. You can't say that if you don't vote for this slate, it means you have to vote for another slate … there are other teams that won plenty of votes but still lost the campaign. Does it mean they caused others [to lose too]?"
Veteran politician Lee, who also ran in New Territories West, lost with a 985-vote margin. Critics say that as it was impossible for Kwok and Eu to gain 90,000 votes, the Civic Party should have refrained from issuing an emergency call for support. Kwok's excess votes could have helped Lee get elected, they say.
Other than Kwok, Kenneth Chan and Leong, the Civic Party's Ronny Tong Ka-wah and Claudia Mo Man-ching won in New Territories East and Kowloon West respectively. Barrister Dennis Kwok Wing-hang beat Albert Wong Kwai-huen to win the legal sector seat.