LEFTISTS suffered a setback during the elections to China's main united front body yesterday, when most elected Hongkong deputies outnumbered the votes of senior party leader Mr Li Ruihuan, who was elected as its chairman. Five leftists and conservative ideologues received the lowest count of votes among the 315 nominees named by the ruling Chinese Communist Party to sit on the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Out of the 1,863 valid votes, only 1,412 supported State Council spokesman Mr Yuan Mu - dubbed ''Yuan 23'' for his insistence that only 23 people died in the June 4 suppression - in his bid for a seat on the standing committee. Mr Yuan and the other 314 nominees, however, were all elected by majority to the standing committee. Under the so-called ''same-candidate election'' in China, members are given only one choice for every seat, but can abstain from voting to show their disapproval. Almost all the nominees received more than 1,800 votes and the list is expected to be rubber-stamped in its entirety. Mr Li, a Politburo Standing Committee member and the only nominee for the post of chairman on the ballot paper, received 1,837 votes. Last night, he declined to comment specifically on the number of votes. Calling on the support from Hongkong people, he said he was not fully qualified for the post and stressed that he would work hard. A deputy, Professor Gong Yuzhi, of Beijing University said he voted for Mr Li who has had strong work experience in the region. ''He is also younger than the previous chairmen of the CPPCC. It's an irony if we want the candidate to be highly respected and young at the same time. To me, a younger age is more important,'' he said. Opposing the candidacy of Mr Li, six of the 1,865 delegates who attended yesterday's sessions wrote their own candidates for the CPPCC top post on the ballots. Five named the former Guangdong Governor, Mr Ye Xuanping and one chose Mr Yang Rudai, a former party secretary of Sichuan. Both Mr Ye and Mr Yang were nominated as vice-chairmen and given the delegates' approval. Apart from Mr Yuan, four others generally seen as conservatives also met strong disapproval from the deputies. A former vice-chairman of the State Education Commission, Mr He Dongchang, got 1,483 votes while the former director of the People's Daily, Mr Gao Di received 1,524 votes. A total of only 1,602 deputies endorsed the nomination of former vice-minister of the Propaganda Department, Mr Xu Weicheng while another 1,616 went to Mr He Jingzhi, former minister of culture. The nominations of the five leftists are seen as a consolation for the conservatives who suffered a serious blow at the 14th Party Congress last October. A delegate, Mr Zhang Xianliang, said the results indicated that leftist influence remained strong because they ''still could not be kicked out'' under the present system. ''They (the leftists) will not have bad feelings. After all they are elected,'' he said. Meanwhile, two Hongkong nominees, Dr Ann Tse-kai and Mr Henry Fok Ying-tung received 1,853 and 1,832 votes respectively to serve as vice-chairmen of the CPPCC. Macau businessman, Mr Ma Man-kei was also elected as one of the 25 vice-chairmen of the CPPCC. Among the 315-member standing committee are another seven Hongkong deputies including Mr Xu Simin and a Hongkong-based New China News Agency official, Mr Qin Wenjun.