Pro-Beijing candidate Rebecca Chan Hoi-yan has won the Kowloon West constituency’s Legislative Council by-election. She will occupy the seat until September 2020.
Chan beat her main rival, pro-democracy candidate Lee Cheuk-yan, by more than 13,000 votes. Chan received 106,457 votes and Lee received 93,047.
Around 216,000 people, or 44.4 per cent of eligible voters, cast their ballot despite rainy weather throughout Sunday. The turnout was slightly higher than the 44.31 per cent of voters who participated in the constituency’s March by-election, which was won by pro-Beijing candidate Vincent Cheng.
The by-election was to fill the seat of ousted lawmaker Lau Siu-lai, whose “slow motion” oath was ruled invalid by a court. She was disqualified from the legislature last year and abandoned her legal appeal this May.
Lee was a substitute candidate for Lau, who was barred by the government from running in the race.
Supporters cheer for Lee Cheuk-yan – despite losing pic.twitter.com/HNeT07VGZ6
— Kris Cheng (@krislc) November 25, 2018
Frederick Fung Kin-kee, a former pro-democracy camp lawmaker who ran as an independent candidate, came in third. He received 12,509 votes.
Fung ran as he said he disapproved of Lee being a substitute candidate for the pro-democracy camp without a primary election.
Having secured over half of the seats in the geographical constituency, the pro-Beijing camp can pass any bill, motion, and amendment it proposes. The camp may propose changes to the house rules, such as fines for lawmakers who are kicked out of the chamber for protesting.
The other two candidates in Sunday’s race were Judy Tzeng Li-wen and Ng Dick-hay. They each received 1,307 and 1,650 votes respectively.
Throughout Sunday, the voter turnout was largely similar to that in the March by-election in the same constituency but it marked a noticeable drop from that of the 2016 Legislative Council election. Democrats were concerned that a low voter turnout – considered common in by-elections – would disproportionately hurt their chances.
Barnabas Fung, chair of the Electoral Affairs Commission, said 308 complaints were received during Sunday, of which 128 were related to election ads. Other complaints included harassment, phone campaigning and other issues, which Fung said were mostly handled immediately.
When asked about elderly people being pushed into polling stations by Chan’s campaign volunteers, Fung said there was no law banning people from helping voters to cast their ballot. However, campaigners cannot provide assistance in order to entice voters to vote for any particular candidate. Fung said the public should not label the volunteers, since many people require assistance in their daily lives.
At the central counting station at the Tiu Keng Leng Sports Centre, reporters and members of the public were not allowed to bring umbrellas or lighters into the venue.