Legislative Council elections 2016

Hong Kong localist leader could have been elected if allowed to run, survey shows

University poll reveals support for Edward Leung, while former Legco president Jasper Tsang insists it is legal to ban pro-independence candidates

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 10:07pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 August, 2016, 11:44pm

Localist leader Edward Leung Tin-kei could have won a seat in next month’s Legislative Council elections had his candidacy not been invalidated, while the pro-establishment camp could grab three coveted “super seats”, according to a rolling survey.

The findings by the University of Hong Kong’s public opinion programme were released yesterday as outgoing Legco president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing insisted the disqualification of six pro-independence candidates was legal even though political considerations played a part.

According to HKU’s opinion poll, conducted between July 30 and August 3, Leung was backed by 4 per cent of respondents in the New Territories East.

That would have been enough to secure a seat in the constituency for the Hong Kong Indigenous member, who was disqualified by the Electoral Affairs Commission on Tuesday.

The election watchdog made the controversial decision on the grounds that Leung had no intention of upholding the Basic Law.

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A total of 1,056 respondents were polled by Wednesday, with 100 to 300 in each of the five geographical constituencies. The survey was jointly commissioned by i-Cable, Now TV, news portal HK01 and political group Power for Democracy.

In the contest for five “super seats” in the district council functional constituency, the Democratic Party’s James To Kun-sun, the most popular candidate with 32 per cent support, and fellow pan-democrat Leung Yiu-chung were projected to win.

Super seats could also go to three pro-establishment candidates – Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king, her running mate Stanley Hung Lin-cham and Wong Kwok-hing, of the Federation of Trade Unions.

The five will be elected next month by 3.47 million voters not eligible to vote in trade-based functional constituencies. In the 2012 Legco elections, pan-democrats won three of the five super seats.

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This time the pan-democrats, including two localists, could win 16 of the 35 seats in geographical constituencies – two fewer than their tally four years ago. The pro-establishment camp would win 17 seats in five constituencies, the same as in 2012.

Two seats would be won by middle-of-the-road candidates.

Jasper Tsang echoed the government in insisting that the disqualification of pro-independence candidates was legal, as their calls for Hong Kong to split from China went against the Basic Law.

“Of course [their disqualification] was political,” he said. “But it doesn’t mean that because it’s a political issue, it cannot be dealt with in accordance with the law.”

There were also questions about the standards used by election officials to vet some candidates’ promotional leaflets.

Hongkong Post said earlier it had to seek legal advice from the Department of Justice over distributing pamphlets bearing phrases such as “self-determination”, “determine our future” and “civil referendum” – which Demosisto’s Nathan Law Kwun-chung’s used in his leaflets.

“We will consider seeking a judicial review of the approval of mail and pamphlets to protest against such injustice,” he said.

Leaflets of the Civic Party’s Tanya Chan were approved within a day after she submitted them, despite containing similar phrases.