Legislative Council elections 2016

Fairytale ending? Romance novelist and Democrat Roy Kwong may grab last ‘super seat’ in Hong Kong elections

This follows appeals to voters to back the newcomer and may put Democratic Alliance candidate Holden Chow at risk

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 September, 2016, 10:31pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 September, 2016, 12:29am

Romance novelist Roy Kwong Chun-yu might well experience a fairytale ending to his bid to win the last “super seat” as the Democratic Party’s rising star looked poised on Sunday night to be the biggest winner from the last-minute pull-out of candidates as voters swung behind him.

The race for the five coveted “super seats”, whose candidates are district councillors elected by all electors except those with a vote in a traditional functional constituency, ended up between three lists from each main political bloc after three pan-democrat underdogs threw in the towel days ahead of the polls.

The sudden pull-out appeared to have benefited Kwong, who was running neck-and-neck with Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong candidate Holden Chow Ho-ding for the last seat, according to the rolling poll conducted by the University of Hong Kong’s public opinion programme.

But the swing also threatened the well-laid strategy within the pan-democratic camp, as Kwong’s colleague, James To Kun-sun was forced to make an emergency appeal to voters by the afternoon.

“We urged people in other parts [of the city] to vote for my party colleague Roy Kwong, but maybe this call was too successful. Now even supporters in my area voted for Kwong,” the incumbent “super seat” lawmaker said.

The Democratic Party called on voters living in Kowloon and New Territories West to vote for Kwong and those living in Hong Kong Island and New Territories East to back To.

The party also ran a full-page advertisement in Apple Daily, calling on electors to concentrate their votes on Kwong to secure the last “super seat”.

To said on Sunday some people had canvassed votes for Kwong in New Territories East and many of his supporters living in his area decided to switch to Kwong because they thought To was a sure bet.

The veteran led the rolling poll for weeks with a score of over 20 per cent, while Kwong was struggling at 6 to 10 per cent.

The candidate pull-out also posed a headache to pro-establishment candidates.

The DAB originally called on voters in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island to vote for party chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king, with Holden Chow taking the rest in the New Territories.

But in the wake of the pan-democrat drama, Chow spent considerable time on Sunday canvassing votes on Hong Kong Island in the afternoon and evening, hoping to mop up more votes to win a seat.

The unprecedented pull-out of the Civic Party’s Sumly Chan Yuen-sum, NeoDemocrat Kwan Wing-yip and Kalvin Ho Kai-ming of the Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood attracted a number of allegations apparently emanating from the opposing camp.

Chan told the Post the pro-establishment camp allegedly told voters he decided to halt electioneering after receiving HK$7 million.

Some voters also received a counterfeit SMS which claimed to be from another “super-seat” candidate, Leung Yiu-chung, calling on people to vote for Chan instead, even though the latter had already thrown in the towel.

Chinese University political scientist Dr Ma Ngok said the information flow was too messy as the pan-democrats who pulled out did not even notify voters 48 hours before polling started.

But he believed To was likely to win given the high turnout rate. “He will only lose if 200,000 of his supporters decided to vote strategically and back other candidates instead.” Ma said.

Additional reporting by Ernest Kao and Tony Cheung