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Legislative Council elections 2016

Democratic Party losses may mean Hongkongers have lost faith in moderate path, says former chairman

Yeung Sum points to poll indication that three Democrats may fail in September’s Legislative Council elections; he also questions poll’s reliability

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 August, 2016, 7:25pm
UPDATED : Monday, 15 August, 2016, 8:24am

How the Democrats fare in the upcoming Legislative Council elections will show whether the moderate and rational approach is still supported by Hongkongers, says former party chairman Dr Yeung Sum as he queried the reliability of a poll which found three of its candidates could face defeat.

Yeung was referring to a rolling poll conducted by the University of Hong Kong’s public opinion programme, which has found that three out of its five candidates running in geographical constituencies are at risk.

The three are Ted Hui Chi-fung running on Hong Kong Island and Lam Cheuk-ting and Andrew Wan Siu-kin in New Territories East and West respectively. All are first-time contestants, forming a candidate list with lawmakers Sin Chung-kai, Emily Lau Wai-hing and Albert Ho Chun-yan respectively. Those in second place are unlikely to win.

Democratic Party lines up young guns to fight Hong Kong Legco elections

Yeung said the sample size of the rolling polls – fewer than 300 respondents in each of the five geographical constituencies – was too small. The pollsters had also failed to mention the second candidate on the list during interviews, which Yeung argued could have made a difference in the results.

“[The research method] has failed to reflect the ‘party effect’,” Yeung said, as voters might consider picking the young Democrats should they know they were running with the veterans.

The party consolidated the results of the HKU rolling polls from August 1 to 10 in a bid to study the trend in a larger sampling size.

“Wan and Lam do have a chance of winning, though Hui is in a marginal position,” said Yeung, citing the study conducted by his party colleague, Dr Law Chi-kwong. “We just want to ask the voters not to give up on us yet [because of the poll].

“If the Democratic Party fails to secure a seat in each of the five geographical constituencies, it will signal that Hongkongers have given up the moderate, rational and non-violent approach upheld by our party,” said Yeung, who was party chairman from 2002 to 2004. “It is a huge matter as I think such an approach is a critical way out for Hong Kong.”

Two-front battle: traditional pan-democrats face off against pro-establisment camp and radicals

The HKU rolling poll also found that Democrat James To Kun-sun, who is running for a so-called super seat to be chosen in a territory-wide vote, had secured 33 per cent support – way beyond the proportion needed for re-election – but his young party colleague, Roy Kwong Chun-yu, who is running in the same constituency, had secured only 6 per cent support.

Yeung said the party was considering asking To’s supporters to vote for Kwong instead.

The Democratic Party and other pan-democrats are facing an unprecedented challenge and infighting this year amid the rise of pro-independence and localist candidates.

For the full list of candidates running in the September poll, please visit the Post’s multimedia package at http://multimedia.scmp.com/legcocandidates