Focus on livelihood issues led to Hong Kong by-election win, pro-establishment bloc’s Vincent Cheng says
Kowloon West winner vows to set sights on housing issues and raise views that are entirely his own while respecting the party line
The first pro-establishment candidate to score a by-election win for a geographical seat in Hong Kong’s legislature on Tuesday attributed his narrow victory to having the right focus.
Vincent Cheng Wing-shun from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong was his camp’s “breakthrough” winner in the Kowloon West constituency at Sunday’s polls.
The pro-establishment bloc snatched two of the four seats up for grabs in the by-election, which was triggered by the disqualification of pro-democracy lawmakers over improper oaths of office.
Cheng told the Post on Tuesday that his focus on livelihood issues might have moved voters, bringing him success on his first attempt at securing a seat in the Legislative Council.
Cheng’s rival, former lawmaker Edward Yiu Chung-yim, was blamed for betting too heavily on political issues. Yiu lost by 2,419 votes – just over 1 per cent of the 215,288 ballots cast in Kowloon West.
“Each candidate has his or her own method … I focused on livelihood issues such as housing,” Cheng said, adding that Yiu was a “very hardworking” opponent.
Cheng also suggested that he might have won the support of voters who were not big on politics through social media. “Using online media, I shared my past and my views on certain issues with the public.”
A Sham Shui Po district councillor since 2007, Cheng said that as a Legco member, he would set his sights on housing issues, such as supply shortages and soaring rents.
Asked if he would be making his own decisions or following the party line, Cheng said he would raise his own views while respecting the opinions of his DAB peers.
On Hong Kong Island, winner and pro-democracy activist Au Nok-hin said it was a pleasant surprise for him to wrest away the support of the South Horizons community from opponent Judy Chan Ka-pui.
Chan, a New People’s Party member, serves also as a Southern district councillor in the South Horizons West constituency, occupied mostly by upper-middle-class voters.
Au bagged 53.1 per cent of votes from South Horizons while Chan had 45.4 per cent.
With backing from middle-class voters, Au also won over the Taikoo Shing community, while Chan’s support base was considered to be from both ends of the income spectrum – among the rich in the Bays Area constituency and those living in public housing estates on Hong Kong Island.
“The voters of South Horizons picked the rule of law,” Au told the Post on Tuesday, referring to public backlash over the government’s disqualification of six pro-democracy lawmakers. No date has yet been set for a by-election to fill two remaining vacant seats in Legco as Lau Siu-lai and “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung have appealed against the ruling.
While pundits said the pro-democracy camp had relied too heavily on the “DQ factor” – or disqualifications – in the campaigns for their by-election hopefuls, Au said it was a matter of voters’ concerns.
Members from pro-democracy group Demosisto, including Nathan Law Kwun-chung – who was among the ousted lawmakers – and Agnes Chow Ting, who was disqualified from running in the recent by-election, were seen campaigning for Au.
The 30-year-old Au said he would share resources with political parties in his camp, including Demosisto. He stressed, however, that his decisions in Legco would be of his own free will.
Meanwhile, NeoDemocrat Gary Fan Kwok-wai thanked supporters in Tai Po and Hang Hau on Tuesday, after being re-elected into Legco by New Territories East voters.
While the new lawmakers-elect were out to meet and thank supporters, Tony Tse Wai-chuen, who reclaimed his seat in the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape functional constituency, flew to Beijing on Monday night to attend the “two sessions”, China’s annual meetings involving the national legislature and the country’s top political advisory body.
Tse was appointed a delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in January.
The four Hong Kong lawmakers-elect from Sunday’s by-election will be sworn into Legco next Wednesday.