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Legislative Council elections 2016

Election Notebook: the party fledglings who still need the support of ‘parents’

Political veterans may be passing the torch, but the younger generation are not quite ready to stand alone

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 August, 2016, 9:22pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 August, 2016, 10:40pm

Many political parties are determined to pass the torch to the young generation. But when canvassing votes, these newcomers still rely heavily on their party veterans. In the “super seats” election forum organised by i-Cable news, three of the nine candidates who invited party veterans to make concluding speeches for them were likened by internet users to “students accompanied by parents in interviews”. Holden Chow Ho-ding, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, invited the party’s ex-chairman and Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing to make the final appeal on his behalf, while Democratic Party veteran Cheung Man-kwong and Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee showed up to speak for their colleagues, Roy Kwong Chun-yu and Sumly Chan Yuen-sum respectively. In a separate TVB forum on Sunday, the nine candidates also debated the ABC – “Anyone But CY” – drive. While pan-democrats lambasted the pro-establishment camp for again ducking the key question on whether they supported unpopular Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for a second term, their opponents, including Chow, hit back and claimed “the audience was already very fed up with this repeatedly asked question”, which he claimed he had already answered.

Anson Chan stumps ‘super seat’ voters

Pan-democratic aspirants have also invited the camp’s heavyweights, including former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang, to lobby voters in the final showdown. But Chan’s recent backing for both Democrat Roy Kwong and the Civic Party’s Sumly Chan has apparently left many voters bewildered. Kwong and Chan are running for the five “super seats” – the district council functional constituency to be returned by more than three millions voters – with both claiming they have a chance of winning the final seat. Will Anson Chan’s supporters vote for Kwong or Chan? Her generous support appears to raise more questions than answers for voters.

With friends like these ...

In politics there are neither permanent friends nor enemies – a saying that is particulary apt when it comes to elections. It was only in February that radical lawmaker Wong Yuk-man offered strong support to pro-independence leader Edward Leung Tin-kei in the New Territories East Legco by-election, but it appears the duo’s friendship was rather short-lived. In a Facebook video, Wong has criticised Leung for helping Yau Wai-ching of the localist group Youngspiration in Kowloon West, the constituency that he is also contesting. Wong questions Leung’s political ethics and declares: “[You] have turned into a political trickster before becoming a lawmaker.” Wong adds that Leung should instead have canvassed votes for his ally, Civic Passion’s Alvin Cheng Kam-mun. Leung dismissed the conflict as a “misunderstanding”, saying he had already suggested offering help to Cheng.

A message from the heart

A handwritten letter that appeared to have been drafted by a young student urging people to vote on Sunday has gone viral online. The Kwun Tong Government Secondary School pupil called on every voter to cast their ballots for the next generation as he was not qualified to vote yet. “Your vote stands for my future,” he wrote. “If we cannot safeguard the [critical votes in Legco] this year … my life will be hopeless as I cannot afford migration.” The student said he had spent all he had – HK$27 – to buy sheets of paper to copy his letter. He called on recipients to pass them on in a bid to influence people around them. Internet users were touched by the student’s sincerity, with some promising to spread the word.