Legislative Council elections 2016

Hong Kong’s first-time voters show a mixed bag of views on Legco elections

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 September, 2016, 11:10pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 September, 2016, 11:52pm

Many first-time voters opted to back localist candidates with radical ideas for the city’s future in ­yesterday’s Legislative Council elections, a Post survey showed.

Of 50 first-time voters surveyed yesterday, 19 said they supported a more independent Hong Kong after 2014’s pro-democracy Occupy movement.

Of the remaining respondents, 14 backed the pan-democrats, 8 backed pro-government candidates and 9 declined to say.

“I have been looking forward to voting after joining the Occupy movement two years ago,” Chung Sui-man, an 18-year-old school student, said.

“Finally I have come of age this year and I can have a say.”

Chung voted for Kenny Wong Chun-kit, from localist group Youngspiration, at a Tsuen Wan polling station.

“I considered whether the candidate would defend the core values of Hong Kong, such as the rule of law,” he said, adding his views were influenced by his older brother, who is a social worker.

Kiu Chan, a 22-year-old student, said she convinced her family to support localist candidate Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chung-hang from Youngspiration ­instead of the pan-democrats.

“Pan-democrats in Legco have not made any substantial change,” she said. “[My family] are willing to give him a chance to show Hong Kong what young people can do.”

But not all first-time voters were youngsters. Hilda Ma, a ­42-year-old public relations officer, also hit the ballot stations for the first time this year.

After voting for Nathan Law Kwun-chung from the pro­democracy group Demosisto, she said it was “not a bad thing” for new parties to enter the Legislative Council.

“At least the Legislative Council wouldn’t be so one-sided then,” she said. “After the ­Umbrella movement, the political atmosphere became very pronounced. There were a lot of people who became politically aware and sensitive. It’s clear that it’s my responsibility to vote for the right people."

Not all young people were ­attracted to the radical younger candidates.

Tom Lam Shing-tak, 19, a ­finance student at City University, said he backed veteran pro-­government politician Michael Tien Puk-sun of the New People’s Party.

He said while Tien was more than twice his age and not a popular choice among his peers, he ­believed the veteran politician had a consistent track record.

“My friends usually go for localists, but I cannot agree with them and have a different view,” he said after casting his vote at a Tsuen Wan polling station. ­“Economic development is important, and filibustering in Legco really wasted a lot of resources.”

‘Get out and vote’: Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying casts his ballot as polling stations open across Hong Kong

Another student, Alfred Mark Hon-chuen, 18, also said he opted for veteran pro-government ­candidates who do not adopt ­violent tactics.

“My views are the same as my family, and we do not want any troublemakers,” Mark, whose parents both work in law enforcement, said.