National People's Congress deputy Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai has admitted her outspoken stance against Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying may have cost her support, after her vote share and ranking plunged in her re-election to the Standing Committee.
Although her 2,790 votes in yesterday's election represented 95 per cent of the total, her tally was three percentage points and 106 votes lower than her showing at the last election in 2008, and her ranking plummeted from ninth to 79th among the 161 committee members.
The former Legco president had already slid to 29th in the vote for local NPC deputies in December, which she used to top.
"Many voters have friends on the mainland; maybe they didn't like what I said, so they voted against me or abstained," said Fan, who backed Leung's rival, Henry Tang Ying-yen, for chief executive.
Yesterday, 124 of 2,941 ballots went against her, while 27 abstained, compared to 42 and 10 respectively out of 2,948 in 2008.
"I think my age is one of the reasons, too," the 67-year-old said. "But I don't have the ability to try to please everybody, I can only say things I believe in."
Fan added that she did not want people to think wrongly that what she said represented the central government's view.
NPC deputy Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun, executive councillor and Leung's campaign chief, dismissed the idea that Fan's outspoken views on Leung were a factor in the election.
"Mrs Fan has the backing of our entire delegation - all 36 of us," Law said. The result and Fan's criticism of Leung were "completely unrelated".
Fellow Hong Kong deputy Brave Chan Yung said Fan's drop in support might have been related to contention over the limit of two tins of infant-milk formula imposed on cross-border travellers by the Hong Kong government in an effort to curb parallel-goods traders. Some mainland deputies might have wished to express their view on this through their votes, he said.
In yesterday's election, NPC deputy secretary general Qiao Xiaoyang had the backing of 2,869 deputies, 22 votes fewer than in 2008. Macau deputy Ho Iat-seng was re-elected for a fourth term with 2,866 votes, 34 votes fewer than last time. Thirteen mainland candidates lost.