Veteran lawmakers philosophical after risky strategies cost them their seats

A rescue call to voters by DAB colleague Starry Lee cost Lau Kong-wah his seat; other candidates also appeared to have made wrong moves

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 September, 2012, 3:11am

This year's election claimed a number of popular heavyweights, among them Lau Kong-wah, a vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

Lau, who ran for one of the five new district council "super seats", was actually leading in opinion polls until a few days before the election.

He received 199,732 votes, putting him sixth behind the five slates of candidates vying for the five seats.

Yesterday, Lau appeared sanguine about the result. "It doesn't matter whether I win or lose," he said. "The important thing is that Hong Kong wins as a whole [considering the overall election result]," he said.

As Lau was leading in opinion polls, his fellow party member Starry Lee Wai-king and Democratic Party member James To Kun-sun called for urgent public support as polls showed their chances of success were slim.

While Lau did not answer directly whether Lee had diverted support - she received 277,143 votes, the second-highest number - DAB party chairman Tam Yiu-chung admitted this was so.

Tam said their original strategy was to urge the DAB's supporters in the New Territories to vote for Lau and those in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island to vote for Lee. But the party later changed tack and called on all supporters to vote for Lee.

The Democratic Party's Lee Wing-tat was another high-profile casualty. He lost in New Territories West, receiving 32,792 votes - just 985 short of the number needed to win.

Lee attributed his failure to not putting enough effort at the district level to get to know people living in the New Territories.

He denied it was the result of his party's decision to field two slates of candidates in that constituency. Critics believe Lee could have won if there had been only one slate because the votes for both slates were enough to have sent Lee back to Legco.

"I have to say it was a brand new experience for me to see how the pro-establishment camp allocated their votes," he said.

"For example, in New Territories West, the DAB won three seats with about 90,000 votes, and it won two seats in the Hong Kong Island constituency. It is a masterminded, detailed programme."

The Civic Party's Tanya Chan and Audrey Eu Yuet-mee also lost in their runs in Hong Kong Island and New Territories West. Both were placed second on their slates.

Chan said she felt at peace. "I actually long for a holiday," she said. "I haven't had a vacation lasting more than a week for the past decade.

"As long as the party is still here, I will keep contributing my part, no matter in what role."

Eu said she did not think the ballots cast for her were wasted.

"We did our best, so I have no regrets at all," she said.