NTE’s explosive mix for LegCo election

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NTE is Hong Kong’s fiercest battleground for LegCo seats. With pro-establishment in fighting and the addition of localists and separatists, the crazy just got crazier.

(Photo: Horace Chin, the philosopher-king of localism movement, is likely to run his campaign in NTE.)


The race is on!

The starting gun for the nomination period of the 2016 LegCo election fires on 16 July, but many parties have prepared or even released their candidate lists. The emergence of localists, and the rare in-fighting among members of the pro-Beijing camp, mean the coming LegCo election will be the most competitive since 1997. New Territories East (NTE) 9-seat constituency, will potentially have 15 lists and the most controversial conflict given the positioning and complicated relationships among the candidates.

 

Pan-dem and localist

Elected candidates in 2012

  • Emily Lau 劉慧卿 (Democratic Party)
  • Ronnie Tong 湯家驊 (Civic Party)
  • Fernando Cheung 張超雄 (Labour Party)
  • ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung 梁國雄 (LSD)
  • Ray Chan 陳志全 (People Power)
  • Gary Fan 范國威 (Neo Democrats)

Potential candidates in 2016

  • Lam Cheuk-ting 林卓廷 (Democratic Party)
  • Alvin Yeung 楊岳橋 (Civic Party)
  • Fernando Cheung (Labour Party)
  • ‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung (LSD)
  • Ray Chan (People Power)
  • Gary Fan (Neo Democrats)
  • *Lau Siu-lai 劉小麗 (former HKFS leaders’ new political party, no English name)
  • Horace Chin (Wan Chin) 陳雲 (HKRO)
  • Edward Leung 梁天琦 (HKI)

*Lau Siu-lai may switch to Kowloon West (KLW) 6-seat constituency.

The recent by-election in NTE was won, as expected, by the Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung. However, it felt like a victory for third place for media darling Edward Leung, who surprisingly secured 66,000 votes, 15.38% of the total. Mr Leung’s votes will likely eat at the voter bases of Gary Fan, Leung Kwok-hung and Ray Chan. Those voters who have favoured these radical politicians may find they have a more attractive radical choice in Mr Leung. Assuming Mr Leung maintains his voter base in September, then at least one of Gary Fan, Leung Kwok-hung or Ray Chan will probably be out of a $93,000/month job (plus expenses. (Ed. Note: Long Hair may again qualify for the public housing spot he has maintained since being elected to LegCo.)

Horace Chin, the spiritual leader of the localist movement, will also join the fray and he is going to also going to fight with Edward Leung, Gary Fan, Leung Kwok-hung and Ray Chan for voters. Localists may have the numbers for one seat in LegCo. But if Mr Leung is convicted and sent to jail, Horace Chin should capture the radical localist voters. On the other hand, excessive vote splitting and lack of discipline in list formation can result in all candidates coming in under the threshold for a harbourside office.

Incumbents Alvin Yeung (Civic Party) and Fernando Cheung (Labour) have strong voter bases and will likely be returned. Lam Cheuk-ting (DP), the successor of Emily Lau and a candidate of LegCo election, is also probably to take his seat given the traditional strong voter base of DP in NTE. However, other wildcards are in the mix.

 

The kids are alright

The new political party, 香港列陣, led by two former HKFS members Alex Chow (周永康) and Lester Shum (岑敖暉), has as of yet to release its English name. They once announced they would nominate Lau Siu-lai to run in NTE, but her low-profile compared to other pan-dem and localist candidates is a drawback for an aspiring LegCo member. The latest news is Mr Shum may give up running his campaign, and Ms Lai may switch to Kowloon West (KLW) 6-seat constituency.

Benny Kwok predicts, that under this range of candidates, then pan-dem will secure 4 seats, localists one, and the last seat will be 1 seat for localist, the remaining seat will be taken by one of  Gary Fan, Leung Kwok-hung, Ray Chan, Horace Chin or Edward Leung

 

Pro-Beijing camp

Elected candidates in 2012

  • Elizabeth Quat 葛珮帆 (DAB)
  • Gary Chan 陳克勤 (DAB)
  • James Tien 田北俊 (Liberal Party)

Potential candidates in 2016

  • Elizabeth Quat (DAB)
  • Gary Chan (DAB)
  • James Tien (Liberal Party)
  • Christine Fong 方國珊 (Independent)
  • Joseph Lau 劉培榮(PoD)
  • Eunice Yung 容海恩 (New People’s Party)

The Pro-Beijing candidates in 2012 faced unusually high internal competition to become nominees. This year Christine Fong will join again, and the first-time candidates Joseph Lau and the candidate of New People Party (unannounced, but likely Eunice Yung) will join too, making for tough competition. Elizabeth Quat, Gary Chan and James Tien are also favourites, but Christine Fong and Joseph Lau are challenging. Christine Fong is a proven element, while Joseph Lau may be building a base of support in Ma On Shan. Either could take a seat from the incumbents.

Benny’s prediction:The DAB secures one seat, as does James Tien should he choose to run. A second DAB candidate has higher chance than Christine Fong for taking the last seat. Benny sees Joseph Lau following this pack with the New People’s Party’s candidate coming last.