New Legco street fighters will give the Hong Kong government a hard time

Get ready for more filibustering and the pan-democrats and localists using their veto power to sink major proposals

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 September, 2016, 4:14pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 September, 2016, 8:52pm

The cardinal rule in politics is “never say never”. Anything can happen: even the most bizarre and the most unexpected.

The best thing about this city’s politics is that it almost always makes us feel good about ourselves or bad about others. Last Sunday’s Legislative Council elections, the first major elections since the Occupy protests of two years ago, were no exception.

There was a record turnout of 2.2 million people, some 58 per cent of total registered voters. There was the rare phenomenon of long queues of people waiting patiently for their turn to vote. The queues stretched outside polling stations, round buildings, spilling over to sidewalks and over footbridges.

To allow all voters to cast their ballots, several polling stations were only able to close in the small hours next morning.

Make no mistake, many of these young people will still be around in 2047 when the rest of us are six feet under

Election results are now out. People have spoken.

Results show that, out of the 70 seats in the legislature, 40 will be occupied by pro-establishment lawmakers and the rest by the pan-democratic opposition, including six radical “localists”, several of whom are street fighters of Occupy Central fame.

The bigger surprise is the number of young people across the political spectrum who got voted in. Of the young lawmakers, the youngest is only 23. The beauty about youth is that youth is invincible. It certainly feels that way.

Make no mistake, many of these young people will still be around in 2047 when the rest of us are six feet under.

The “localists” have made no bones about their advocacy for self-determination, by which I take it to mean they want a bright future and they want to have a say in shaping their future.

Putting a metaphorical foot in my mouth, I think, unless the so-called executive-led government is led by someone of statesman-like stature, the new legislature will give the government a hard time and something to worry about.

For there is no doubt that the new blood will bring about a change in perception, ideology and approaches in our political landscape.

Great are those who are humble in defeat. Greater are those who are humble in victory.

It is reasonable to expect that radical street fighters will bring fighting from the street into the Legislative Council, hopefully verbally and not physically.

It is also reasonable to expect the boring technique of filibustering to continue.

Above all, it is reasonable to expect what I would call “the veto pester power” – a vetoing power under the law to defeat the government’s major proposals – to intensify.

New challenges lie ahead.

Elizabeth Wong Chien Chi-lien was secretary for health and welfare from 1990 to 1994 and a lawmaker from 1995 to 1997