New political forces emerging from last year’s pro-democracy Umbrella Movement won eight seats in the district council elections on Sunday as traditionally strong parties from both sides of the political divide suffered some surprise defeats.
A total of 47 percent of three million registered voters came out to cast their ballot – a higher turnout than the two previous elections in 2011 and 2007.
Often called “Umbrella Soldiers”, more than 50 fresh faces from young political parties founded a year or less ago took part in the races.
In Tai Hang, Wan Chai, “Umbrella Soldier” Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying beat Wong Ching-chi of the pro-Beijing’s New People’s Party.
Speaking after the results came out, Yeung said she was overjoyed. “It was totally a surprise. I believe in the power of democracy, and I believe there will be surprises in the districts. I thank voters for giving me this opportunity, I promise I will use it well,” she said.
DAB lawmaker Chris Chung Shu-kun was defeated by “Umbrella Soldier” Chui Chi-kin. Fellow DAB veteran Elizabeth Quat was unseated by the Labour Party’s Yip Wing, who is bound by a wheelchair, in Chung On, Sha Tin.
DAB, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, is the biggest pro-Beijing party in the city.
The Democratic Party, one of the biggest pro-democracy parties, also suffered some unexpected losses.
Lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan, who was running for Hong Kong’s top government office in 2012, lost to former Law Society president Junius Ho Kwan-yiu.
Their constituency was one of the most contested with six people vying for one seat.
Meanwhile, the more radical forces in the pan-democrat camp, including People Power and League of Social Democrats, also performed badly. People Power, led by lawmakers Albert Chan Wai-yip, suffered nine losses out of ten, while all five of the LSD’s candidates were defeated.
Correction: A previous version of this article stated that People Power was also headed by Raymond Wong Yuk-man. In fact, Wong resigned from the party in 2013.