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Pro-Beijing camp achieves landslide in district polls

South China Morning Post – Nov. 7, 2011

The pro-Beijing camp scored a landslide victory in Monday’s district council elections – with the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) and Federation of Trade Unions winning 146 of the 412 seats.

In contrast, the pan-democratic camp suffered an even worse defeat than it had experienced in 2007. On Monday, the Democratic Party won only 47 seats, while the Civic Party won seven.

A record turnout of 1.2 million people voted on Sunday in the most hotly contested district council elections in Hong Kong history – which saw 839 candidates contest 336 constituencies. Some 76 councillors were returned.

Of the 2.9 million eligible voters, 41.4 per cent cast their ballots – compared with a turnout of 38.8 per cent in the 2007 district council polls and 44.06 per cent in 2003 – when there were nearly 500,000 fewer registered voters.

DAB chairman Tam Yiu-chung said he was satisfied his party had secured more seats.

DAB lawmaker Ip Kwok-him defeated Leung Kwok-hung of the League of Social Democrat (LSD). Ip received 2,723 votes, while Leung, also known as “Long Hair”, only got 973 votes. Ip said this showed voters were unwilling to back radical politicians.

All the results were released by 4am, and it was soon obvious the pan-democrats were in for a long, painful night.

Civic Party legislators Tanya Chan and Ronny Tong Ka-wah both lost their seats. Chan was beaten by Liberal Party first-time candidate Joseph Chan Ho-lim in the Peak constituency of Central and Western. Tong lost to incumbent independent Wong Ka-wing in City One, Sha Tin.

Civic Party leader Alan Leong Ka-kit said the goal of achieving full universal suffrage would be more difficult after the landslide defeat. The party only won seven seats, despite fielding 41 candidates.

The Democratic Party also suffered, as its lawmakers Lee Wing-tat and Wong Sing-chi were defeated in Kwai Tsing and North District, respectively. The party’s vice-chairman and former lawmaker Sin Chung-kai lost to incumbent councillor David Wong Chor-fung, of the New People’s Party, in Wan Chai’s Tai Hang constituency.

However, party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan fended off a challenge from People Power candidate Albert Chan Wai-yip and independent Shum Kam-tim in Lok Tsui, the Tuen Mun District.

Ho said the party had “passed a test” because it did not lose too many seats. However, the party now has three fewer seats. He said the pan-democrats would need to review their strategy.

Democrat lawmakers Kam Nai-wai and James To Kun-sun held on to their seats in Central, Western and the Yau Tsim Mong District.

Radical pan-democratic group People Power – whose goal was to punish the Democratic Party and Association of Democratic and People’s Livelihood for backing the government’s reform package for the 2012 elections – was the biggest loser. Of its 62 candidates, only one achieved a victory. Its campaign mostly received lukewarm support from voters.

The radical LSD which fielded 28 candidates failed to win any seats. Party chairman Andrew To Kwan-hang lost his seat in Chuk Yuen North, the Wong Tai Sin district.

The New People’s Party – which contested the elections for the first time – secured four seats. The party fielded 12 candidates this year.

The Electoral Affairs Commission said it had received about 2,200 complaints from voters.

Full list of elected district councillors.

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