ADPL admits it got its election tactics wrong in Kowloon West stronghold

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 September, 2012, 2:53am

A mistaken election strategy - discounting an opponent's appeal to voters - led to the loss of a traditional stronghold seat for the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL) in Sunday's election, the group conceded yesterday.

Kowloon West has been an ADPL stronghold since 1991 - with the exception of 1998-2000 - held all that time by veteran lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee.

But this year Fung decided to run for one of the new "super seats" in Legco's district council constituency, leaving party vice-chairman Tam Kwok-kiu to hold the fort in Kowloon West.

But Tam lost, finishing sixth with 30,834 votes - about 4,000 fewer than fifth-placed Priscilla Leung Mei-fun of West Kowloon New Dynamic.

"We had set a target of clinching 25,000 to 30,000 votes to win a seat, and we managed to meet it," said Tam. "But we were surprised by the increase of votes for the pro-establishment camp."

Leung's support grew sharply: she took 34,548 votes, a dramatic increase from the 19,914 that put her into the legislature in 2008.

Meanwhile, the ADPL's support dropped by almost 5,000 votes compared with the 2008 election, when Fung won with 35,440 votes.

Tam apologised for underestimating his rival, and party chairman Bruce Liu Sing-lee said he would continue to lead the party to regain the seat in the 2016 election.

Fung, meanwhile, won his "super seat" race with about 260,000 votes, saving the party from complete defeat. He called for unity among pan-democrats, who secured 27 seats to retain their veto power in the legislature over constitutional changes.

"For the goal of striving for universal suffrage in the 2017 chief executive election, pan-democrats should cease their in-fighting," said Fung.

He was referring to criticism by the radical People Power and League of Social Democrats, against the ADPL and the Democratic Party, for supporting the government's 2010 electoral reform package.