2019 Hong Kong local elections

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2019 Hong Kong local elections

← 2015 24 November 2019 2023 →

All Elected Constituencies
452 (of the 479) seats in all 18 Districts Councils
  Starry Lee.jpg Wu Chi-wai Ng Chau-pei
Leader Starry Lee Wu Chi-wai Ng Chau-pei
Party DAB Democratic FTU
Alliance Pro-Beijing Pro-democracy Pro-Beijing
Last election 119 seats, 21.39% 43 seats, 13.56% 27 seats, 6.11%
Current seats 117 37 26

  Lo Wai-kwok 2016.jpg Regina Ip 2016.jpg Yam Kai-bong.jpg
Leader Lo Wai-kwok Regina Ip Yam Kai-bong
and others
Party BPA NPP Neo Democrats
Alliance Pro-Beijing Pro-Beijing Pro-democracy
Last election 10 seats, 1.90% 26 seats, 5.24% 15 seats, 2.92%
Current seats 19 (elected seats) 13 13

  Sze Tak-loy.jpg Alvin Yeung 2017 1.jpg Felix Chung 2015.jpg
Leader Sze Tak-loy Alvin Yeung Felix Chung
Party ADPL Civic Liberal
Alliance Pro-democracy Pro-democracy Pro-Beijing
Last election 18 seats, 3.82% 10 seats, 3.62% 9 seats, 1.74%
Current seats 12 12 8

The 2019 Hong Kong District Council elections are scheduled to be held on 24 November 2019 for the sixth District Councils of Hong Kong.[1] Elections are to be held to all 18 District Councils with returning 452 members from all directly elected constituencies, out of the total 479 seats.

Boundary changes[edit]

In July 2017, the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) proposed to increase 21 elected seats in 10 District Councils after a review on the number of elected seats for each District Council having regard to the population forecast:[1]

  1. 1 new seat for each Kowloon City, Yau Tsim Mong and Tsuen Wan District Councils;
  2. 2 new seats for each Sham Shui Po, Kwai Tsing, Tuen Mun and Sai Kung District Councils;
  3. 3 new seats for each Kwun Tong and Sha Tin District Councils; and
  4. 4 new seats for the Yuen Long District Council.[1]

According to the recommendations, the total number of elected seats for the 2019 elections will be increased by 21 from 431 to 452.

Gerrymandering concerns[edit]

Some pro-democracy District Councillors accused the EAC of gerrymandering in which the borders of their constituencies were altered "unreasonably" which might affect their odds should they seek another term. EAC chairman Barnabas Fung claimed that the proposal was purely the result of an objective calculation. "Factors with political implications would definitely not be taken into consideration," Fung said.[2]

Background[edit]

Project Storm[edit]

In April 2017, Occupy Central co-founder Benny Tai proposed the "Project Storm" to win the majority of the District Council seats for the pro-democrats in the coming election. He stated that by winning a majority of the some 400 District Council seats, pro-democrats could gain an additional 117 seats of the District Council subsectors on the 1,200-member Election Committee which elects the Chief Executive. Tai believed that by making it harder for Beijing to manipulate in the Chief Executive election, it would compel Beijing to restart the stalled political reform after its restrictive proposal was voted down in 2015.[3]

Power for Democracy, a group which coordinated different parties and groups in the pro-democracy camp worked with pro-democrats to find candidates for all 452 constituencies. The group also held rounds of non-binding primaries to select candidate if more than one pro-democrat was interested in running in the same constituency. However the camp still risked doubling up in about 30 constituencies.[4]

Anti-extradition bill protests[edit]

In mid 2019, the Carrie Lam administration pushed forward the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 to establish a mechanism for transfers of fugitives not only for Taiwan, Mainland China and Macau, which are not covered in the existing laws for a homicide case in Taiwan.[5] The proposed bill raised grave concerns from various sectors of the society including lawyers, journalists, businesses, as well as foreign governments, fearing the heightened risk that Hong Kong citizens and foreign nationals passing through the city, without the safeguards of the local courts, could be sent for trial to Mainland China, where courts are under Chinese political control.[6]

Starting from June, rounds of demonstrations were attended by record breaking of hundreds of thousands to nearly two millions people forced the government to eventually suspend the bill, followed by Lam's announcement of the withdrawal in September. The pro-Beijing parties who were among the strongest advocates of the bill worried their support of the controversial bill as well as the abrupt U-turn would cost them votes in the upcoming District Council elections and next year's Legislative Council election, repeating their devastating defeat in the 2003 District Council elections following the highly controversial national security legislation.[7] Media reported that the government was looking into the possibility of cancelling polls in areas where serious protests are taking place, or even postponing the elections by invoking the Emergency Regulations Ordinance.[8][9] There have been vandalism on pro-Beijing parties' local offices during the protests, as well as physical attacks on at least four pro-democrat candidates, including the League of Social Democrats' Jimmy Sham, who was also the convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front, the organiser of the many massive demonstrations in the past four months. He was assaulted by men with hammers.[4]

Voter Registration[edit]

Registration drives are uncommon in Hong Kong but campaigners have registered tens of thousands of new voters during mass protests against controversial extradition bill, pouncing on an opportunity to bolster the democratic opposition’s prospects in upcoming elections[10] and the total number of newly registered electors for 2019 had surge and skyrocketed unprecedentedly with over 386,000 newly registered electors, a record high per election cycle since the handover of Hong Kong.[11] The number of registered electors between the ages of 18 and 35 alone has jumped more than 12% compared to last year[12]

While the number of registered electors had been increasing steadily, large social movements and demonstrations have a tendency to spike registration.[13] In 2004, 303,885 people had registered after half a million Hongkongers took to the streets to protest against a government-proposed national security law based on Article 23rd of the Basic Law. In 2015, 262,633 people registered as voters after the Umbrella Revolution.[14]

According to the Registration and Electoral Office(REO) under the Electoral Affairs Commission(EAC), the number of registered electors in the 2019 final registers is 4,132,977[15], also a record high since the handover of Hong Kong.[16]

Nominations and disqualifications[edit]

An unprecedented number of 1,104 nomination forms were received by the Returning Officers in the two-week nomination period from 4 to 17 October, of which six nominees withdrew their candidatures before the end of the nomination period.[17] It is the first time in history all 452 District Council seats faced contests, compared to the last elections in 2015 where 68 seats went uncontested.[18]

At least four candidates, including Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, Mo Kai-hong, Liu Qing of the Democratic Party and Billy Chan Shiu-yeung of the Community Sha Tin, received letters from the Returning Officers to answer what the candidates meant by it when they posted "Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times", a popular slogan in the anti-extradition protests on their social media accounts.[9] Two other hopefuls also received letters asking for their stance on Hong Kong independence, including secretary-general of Demosistō Joshua Wong who plans to run for South Horizons West who was asked if he was running on behalf of his party Demosistō and if he supported the notion of "self-determination" for Hong Kong. Agnes Chow, a member of Demosistō was earlier barred from running in the March 2018 Legislative Council by-election on the grounds that Demosistō advocated "self-determination".[9] Henry Wong Pak-yu who aimed for a seat in Tin Heng was also questioned for his previous public pro-independence statement. Both Wongs denied they supported Hong Kong independence. Political scientist Ma Ngok warned that any disqualification would only fuel the ongoing political crisis.[9] In light of the risk of being disqualified, Joshua Wong and at least 12 other pro-democracy candidates including former student leader Lester Shum and pro-democracy legislator Eddie Chu arranged a backup candidate to stand in the same constituency in the last minutes before the nomination period ended as their candidatures had not been confirmed by the Returning Officers. Chu was previously disqualified from running in the January rural representative election by Returning Officer Enoch Yuen Ka-lok, citing his stance of supporting "self-determination".[19]

More than ten days after the nomination period, acting Returning Officer Laura Liang Aron who replaced Dorothy Ma Chau Pui-fun who took indefinite sick leave barred Joshua Wong from running, making Wong the only pro-democrat being disqualified due to his political stance in the election. Aron gave a six-page ruling noting that Wong dropped his advocacy of the option of independence as "a compromise, instead of a genuine intention" as Wong referred President Xi Jinping's remarks on separatism as "stern threat" a reason for him and Demosistō to give up the advocacy of independence. Wong said the Returning Officer's decision showed that the central government was manipulating the election, which was expected to be a key test of public sentiment about the protest movement. Kelvin Lam Ho-por, who stood in the same constituency, was widely believed to be Joshua Wong's substitute in case Wong was barred from running.[20][21]

Pre-election events[edit]

November 2 election rally[edit]

More than a hundred pro-democracy candidates launched an election rally at Victoria Park on 2 November, testing the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance which allowed for election meetings to be held in public after the police rejected the organisers' initial application to hold a demonstration.[22] Soon after the assembly started, the police quickly declared the rally an unauthorised assembly and dispersed attendances using tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons. At least three pro-democracy election candidates, Osman Cheng Chung-hang, Richard Chan Chun-chit and Man Nim-chi, were seen being taken away by the police. During the operation, officers pepper-sprayed Chan to subdue him, prompting angry calls from rally-goers for his release.[23] The protests continued with the clashes between the police and protesters, where protesters responded the police crackdown by throwing petroleum bombs, vandalising MTR stations and shops seen as sympathetic to the Beijing government, spraying graffiti and building barricades on streets, capping the 21st week of anti-government demonstrations.[24]

Physical attacks on candidates[edit]

Besides convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front Jimmy Sham who was also running in Lek Yuen was attacked, many District Council candidates including Labour Party's Stanley Ho Wai-hong running for Pak Sha Wan was attacked by men dressed in white and welding rods in late September. Pro-democracy candidates Jocelyn Chau Hui-yan and Jannelle Rosalynne Leung who were running in City Garden and Yuet Wah respectively were also attacked.[25]

On 3 November, during a protest at Cityplaza, Tai Koo Shing, Democratic Party's Andrew Chiu of his own constituency Tai Koo Shing West was attacked by a pro-Beijing, Mandarin-speaking, knife-wielding man, when he tried to stop a fight after the attacker assaulted several people. His left ear was partially bitten off by the attacker.[26]

On 6 November, pro-Beijing Legislative Councillor Junius Ho, who was previously filmed praising a group of white-clad men outside Yuen Long station on 21 July night of a mob attack against civilians, was attacked by a man with a knife at around 8:44am in his own constituency when he was campaigning for re-election in his Lok Tsui seat in Tuen Mun District Council. The attacker shouted abuse at Ho, accusing him of being involved in July 21 attack. Ho received an injury to his chest and was then hospitalised.[27] Ho's assistant and the attacker were also injured before the attacker was arrested.[25]

Current standings of the District Councils[edit]

By political camp[edit]

Council Current
control
Largest
party
Central & Western Pro-Beijing Tied
Wan Chai Pro-Beijing DAB
Eastern Pro-Beijing DAB
Southern Pro-Beijing Democratic
Yau Tsim Mong Pro-Beijing DAB
Sham Shui Po NOC ADPL
Kowloon City Pro-Beijing DAB
Wong Tai Sin Pro-Beijing DAB
Kwun Tong Pro-Beijing DAB
Tsuen Wan Pro-Beijing DAB
Tuen Mun Pro-Beijing DAB
Yuen Long Pro-Beijing DAB
North Pro-Beijing DAB
Tai Po Pro-Beijing DAB
Sai Kung Pro-Beijing DAB
Sha Tin Pro-Beijing NPP/CF
Kwai Tsing Pro-Beijing DAB
Islands Pro-Beijing DAB

By political party[edit]

As of 4 November 2019:

Council/
Party
CW WC E S YTM SSP KC WTS KT TW TM YL N TP SK ST KWT I TOTAL
DAB 5 4 11 2 8 5 8 7 10 4 8 6 7 5 8 7 8 3 116
FTU 6 2 2 1 4 4 3 1 3 1 27
BPA/KWND 4 3 5 1 1 3 1 3 21
NPP 1 2 2 7 1 13
Liberal 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 8
Roundtable 2 2 1 2 7
NTAS 1 1 2
Civil Force 2 2
FLU 1 1
FPHE 1 1
Ind & others 4 6 6 8 4 1 6 6 15 7 5 23 8 7 5 3 4 11 129
Pro-Beijing 10 11 25 12 16 11 20 16 28 15 22 36 18 15 16 20 20 16 327
Democratic 5 2 3 1 2 2 3 3 1 4 2 2 3 4 37
ND 1 2 3 6 1 13
ADPL 7 2 3 12
Civic 4 1 1 1 2 2 1 12
Labour 1 1 1 3
NWSC 2 2
CGPLTKO 2 2
DA 1 1
Ind & others 2 3 2 1 1 1 4 4 2 2 1 9 3 1 36
Pro-democrats 5 2 10 5 3 11 3 9 8 4 8 5 4 5 9 16 9 2 118
KEC 1 1
CNU/STCN 1 1
Ind & others 1 1 2 4
Localists 1 1 1 3 6
Others 1 1 4 1 7
Vacant
Councillors 15 13 35 17 19 23 24 25 37 20 30 41 22 21 29 39 30 18 458

List of target seats[edit]

DAB targets Votes required Swing required
1 Chi Choi (Democratic) 5 0.06%
2 Hing Fong (Democratic) 72 0.89%
3 Tsui Wan (Ind) 57 1.28%
4 Shun Tin (Democratic) 100 1.36%
5 Kam To (Ind) 137 1.87%
6 Tsuen Wan Centre (Democratic) 161 2.04%
Democratic targets Votes required Swing required
1 Wah Fu South (Ind) 3 0.05%
2 Wah Kwai (DAB) 47 0.43%
3 Shek Yam (DAB) 54 0.47%
4 Centre Street (Ind) 33 0.50%
5 Ting On (Ind) 62 0.73%
6 Belcher (Ind) 69 0.73%
ADPL targets Votes required Swing required
1 Ma Tau Wai (DAB) 45 0.42%
2 Lai Kok (DAB/FTU) 99 0.96%
FTU targets Votes required Swing required
1 Ma Hang Chung (Democratic) 45 0.66%
Civic targets Votes required Swing required
1 Tung Chung North (NPP) 32 0.82%
Pro-Beijing independent targets Votes required Swing required
1 Sai Kung North (BPA) 20 0.49%
2 Whampoa West (Ind) 39 0.47%
3 Mid Levels East (Democratic) 55 0.92%

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Review of the Number of Elected Seats for the Sixth-Term District Councils" (PDF). Legislative Council of Hong Kong.
  2. ^ "Election chiefs bring in 21 new Hong Kong district council seats, sparking gerrymandering concerns". South China Morning Post. 21 July 2018.
  3. ^ "Hong Kong Occupy co-founder Benny Tai unveils 'Project Storm' to win more district council seats for pan-democrats". South China Morning Post. 30 April 2017.
  4. ^ a b "Hong Kong's district council elections: how the opposition camp plans to give their pro-establishment rivals a fierce fight". South China Morning Post. 22 October 2019.
  5. ^ "Fears over Hong Kong-China extradition plans". BBC. 8 April 2019.
  6. ^ "Is HK tilting from a semi-democracy to a semi-dictatorship?". Ejinsight. 23 May 2019.
  7. ^ "Suspension of Hong Kong extradition bill is embarrassing to pro-establishment allies and could cost them at election time, camp insiders reveal". South China Morning Post. 16 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Hong Kong protests: plan mulled to partially cancel district council elections if polling stations targeted, as Joshua Wong announces candidacy". South China Morning Post. 28 September 2019.
  9. ^ a b c d "Aspiring election candidates insist their use of 'Liberate Hong Kong; revolution of our times' protest slogan does not mean they advocate independence". South China Morning Post. 16 October 2019.
  10. ^ "Activists in Hong Kong make pitch to extradition protesters: register to vote". Reuters. 20 June 2019. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  11. ^ Pao, Ming. "新登記選民創回歸新高 學者:建制一大警號". www.mingpaocanada.com. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  12. ^ "Voter registration spikes in Hong Kong amid protests". Inkstone. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  13. ^ "Record rise in voter registration after bill protest cheers opposition". South China Morning Post. 11 July 2019. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  14. ^ "Record rise in voter registration after bill protest cheers opposition". South China Morning Post. 11 July 2019. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  15. ^ "Voter Registration Statistics". www.voterregistration.gov.hk. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  16. ^ Pao, Ming. "新登記選民創回歸新高 學者:建制一大警號". www.mingpaocanada.com. Retrieved 16 November 2019.
  17. ^ "1104 nomination forms for District Council Ordinary Election received by deadline". Hong Kong government. 17 October 2019.
  18. ^ "All 452 District Council seats face contests". The Standard. 17 October 2019.
  19. ^ "Hong Kong pro-democracy leader Joshua Wong and others arrange backup candidates to contest district council elections". South China Morning Post. 17 October 2019.
  20. ^ "Hong Kong Bars Joshua Wong, a Prominent Activist, From Seeking Election". New York Times. 29 October 2019.
  21. ^ "Democracy activist Joshua Wong barred from running in Hong Kong district council election". South China Morning Post. 29 October 2019.
  22. ^ "民主派 128 區選候選人宣布 11.2 維園辦選舉聚會 促警勿阻撓". 立場新聞. 1 November 2019.
  23. ^ "Hong Kong protests: demonstrators vow to take battle to the ballots in district council elections". South China Morning Post. 2 November 2019.
  24. ^ "Hong Kong Protests: Police Face Off With Demonstrators After Election Rally". New York Times. 2 November 2019.
  25. ^ a b "Video: Pro-Beijing Hong Kong lawmaker Junius Ho attacked in Tuen Mun". Hong Kong Free Press. 6 November 2019.
  26. ^ "Hong Kong lawmaker's ear partially bitten off during anti-government protest". NBC News. 4 November 2019. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  27. ^ "Junius Ho attacked in the street". CNN. 6 November 2019.

External links[edit]