A candidate from the pro-establishment New People’s Party defeated two rivals from the pan-democratic camps in a close battle in the Southern District Council by-election.
Judy Chan Ka-pui, a political freshman from the New People’s Party won with 2,023 votes. People Power’s Erica Yuen Mi-ming received 1,083 votes. Democratic Party’s Sin Chung-kai secured only 920 votes.
Sin said the “crushing defeat” was “beyond their expectation” that his campaign team as well as the Democratic Party would “examine and evaluate ourselves deeply”.
The by-election was triggered when Andrew Fung Wai-kwong resigned his seat in the South Horizons West constituency, and from the Democratic Party, at the end of last year to become the information co-ordinator for the Chief Executive's Office.
The Democratic Party's Sin Chung-kai, People Power's Erica Yuen Mi-ming and Judy Chan Ka-pui from the New People's Party were last night making last-ditch efforts to sway voters near the polling station at the South Horizons residential estate.
"My party has very rich experience dealing with affairs in this district and I am confident we can push forward some effective reforms," Sin said yesterday.
Four out of 19 councillors in the Southern District Council are from the Democratic Party.
Sin, a Hong Kong Island lawmaker, said his greater legislative experience gave him an edge over his competitors. He has won election to the District Council and the Legislative Council several times since the 1980s.
If elected, he said he would have pushed for improved disabled access to local facilities. He had also promised to put pressure on bus companies to make local bus routes more efficient.
Yuen, chairwoman of the radical People Power group, cast doubt on Sin's ability to devote himself to the District Council when he already had a heavy Legco workload.
"And Judy is from a pro-government party. She will not have the guts to fight against the big companies for the benefits of the residents here," said Yuen, a former Miss Hong Kong finalist.
Yuen said she would have also pushed for a revamp of bus routes and for expanded parking space at South Horizons.
Chan, her party's community development officer, said the fact that she lives at South Horizons - unlike her rivals - made her the best choice for voters.
"I know what the problems are here ... the MTR will only open a station here in 2015, and the buses are never on time," she said. While accepting that Sin had the greater experience, she argued he should focus on his work in Legco.
More than 4,000 of the 7,566 registered voters had cast their ballot by 10.30pm when polling closed - a turnout rate of 53.65 per cent.