South China Morning Post
Hong Kong’s traditional opposition parties have lost ground to localist challengers in a fierce weekend primary contest to determine who should run in coming elections, as the city leader warned any planned action to paralyse policy-making was potentially subversive.Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor issued a strong warning to the candidates and organisers of the primary on Monday night, saying it was subversive for them to vow to seize control of the legislature and vote down key government proposals.“If this so-called primary election’s purpose is to achieve the ultimate goal of delivering what they called ‘35-plus’ [lawmakers], with the objective of objecting or resisting every policy initiative of the HKSAR government, it may fall into the category of subverting the state power – one of the four types of offences under the national security law,” she said.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.“I am not saying it has breached it, but I have to put forward a warning that if that’s going to be proven to be the case, then it’s certainly a case to be answered.”In a statement, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau said it had received complaints that the two-day exercise was to manipulate the September Legislative Council elections and it could breach privacy laws.It also noted there were complaints that the exercise could breach the national security law as it was a bid to subvert the state power and interfere with the functions of the body of power of Hong Kong.Au Nok-hin, a former lawmaker who coordinated the primary, said the government’s attempt to threaten them again with the newly enacted law would not succeed.“We held the primary in a peaceful manner and haven’t intruded on anyone’s rights,” he said.“Supporters [of the pan-democrat camp] from different spectrums are just trying to find a way out [to increase chances of winning] in our means.”Meanwhile, as preliminary results covering about 590,000 electronic votes were announced on Monday night, it emerged that Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong only came seventh in the Kowloon West constituency, where the pan-democrat camp aimed to win four seats.In New Territories East, former lawmaker “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, of the League of Social Democrats managed only ninth place, while the camp agreed that only the top seven candidates should run in September.Pending the count of about 21,000 paper ballots, Wong and Leung were not expected to run in the September election. Primary turnout a strong political message to Hong Kong authorities: activistPolitical activist Joshua Wong Chi-fung was the top candidate in Kowloon East, while two of the localists he endorsed – former journalist Gwyneth Ho Kwai-lam and incumbent lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick – came first in New Territories East and New Territories West respectively.Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit, convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front, and Democratic Party lawmaker Ted Hui Chi-fung were first in Kowloon West and Hong Kong Island respectively.Sunny Cheung Kwan-yang and Tiffany Yuen Ka-wai, both endorsed by Joshua Wong, came second in Kowloon West and Hong Kong Island respectively.Chung Kim-wah, deputy chief executive of the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI), said the final results would be released on Tuesday at the earliest after they counted paper ballots of all constituencies and handled all problematic votes.The opposition camp held the polls to whittle down their list of Legco candidates from 52 to those with the best chance of achieving a “35-plus” majority in the 70-seat legislature. Running too many opposition candidates, they believed, would play into the hands of pro-establishment rivals by splitting the votes.Among the 52 candidates were 27 localist challengers, 11 activists from traditional political parties and 14 incumbent opposition lawmakers, including seven from the Democratic Party, four from the Civic Party, and pan-democrats Eddie Chu, Joseph Lee Kok-long, and Raymond Chan Chi-chuen. Hong Kong opposition camp’s landmark primary faces raft of obstaclesOn Sunday, several incumbent lawmakers from the Democratic Party and Civic Party had made an “emergency appeal” to voters. The moderate politicians found themselves in deep waters as they attempted to secure support in the face of challenges from young localist rivals who had opted for more confrontational tactics against authorities.Long queues were spotted outside polling stations across the city over the weekend, as a total of 592,211 votes were cast via a mobile phone app and about 21,000 paper ballots were cast in 240 polling stations during the two-day weekend primary.The figure, which far exceeded the original target of 170,000, represented more than 13.8 per cent of Hong Kong’s registered voters.The territory-wide primary came less than two weeks after Beijing’s imposition of the national security law on the city.The 52 candidates were running in all five geographical constituencies, as well as in the health services and district council (second) functional constituencies.Rebel City: Hong Kong’s Year of Water and Fire is a new book of essays that chronicles the political confrontation that has gripped the city since June 2019. Edited by the South China Morning Post's Zuraidah Ibrahim and Jeffie Lam, the book draws on work from the Post's newsrooms across Hong Kong, Beijing, Washington and Singapore, with unmatched insights into all sides of the conflict. Buy directly from SCMP today and get a 15% discount (regular price HKD$198). It is available at major bookshops worldwide or online through Amazon, Kobo, Google Books, and eBooks.com.More from South China Morning Post: * Hong Kong elections: primary turnout enables opposition to inch towards gaining majority in Legco polls, activist says * Hong Kong elections: traditional opposition parties, localists face off as more than 610,000 residents cast primary ballots * Hong Kong opposition camp’s lofty hopes for landmark primary run into raft of obstacles, voter turnout concerns * Hong Kong elections: 234,000 residents cast ballots in opposition camp primary for Legislative Council elections, organisers sayThis article Hong Kong’s traditional opposition parties lose out to localist challengers in fierce weekend primary for coming Legislative Council election first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.