Joshua Wong among candidates leading Hong Kong unofficial primaries

Pro-democracy activists Tiffany Yuen Ka-wai (left) and Joshua Wong attend a campaigning during primary elections, in Hong Kong, on July 11, 2020.
Pro-democracy activists Tiffany Yuen Ka-wai (left) and Joshua Wong attend a campaigning during primary elections, in Hong Kong, on July 11, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS
People queueing up to vote in the primary election aimed at selecting the pan-democratic candidates for the September election, in Hong Kong, on July 12, 2020.
People queueing up to vote in the primary election aimed at selecting the pan-democratic candidates for the September election, in Hong Kong, on July 12, 2020.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG  KONG  –  Preliminary results of the opposition camp's primaries showed two pan-democratic candidates - Mr Roy Kwong and activist Joshua Wong - to be leading, with full results expected on Tuesday (July 14), event organisers have said.

In unofficial data sent to the media on Monday, Democratic Party’s Mr Kwong, who is a current lawmaker, is the frontrunner for one of the five “super seats” in the Legislative Council (Legco) election, while Mr Wong, who is contesting in Kowloon East had the highest vote share in a district.

Democratic Party's Ted Hui was leading the fight in the Hong Kong Island district, while activists Jimmy Sham and Eddie Chu topped the polls for Kowloon West and New Territories West respectively. Former Stand News reporter Gwyneth Ho led in New Territories East.

The body helping with the primaries, Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (Pori), said paper ballots for Hong Kong Island were counted and it has gone on to tally votes for other districts.

“All problematic votes would be verified in front of all candidates (or their representatives) before the final round of vote-counting is conducted,” the institute said, adding that results would be announced on Tuesday noon or so.

Co-founder of the 2014 Occupy Central movement Benny Tai, an associate professor at the University of Hong Kong, is expected to announce the results of the primaries together with former lawmaker Au Nok Hin, once the votes are compiled.

More than 610,000 people turned up over Saturday and Sunday, waiting patiently in line to cast their votes in the primaries, despite the government’s warnings about breaching the national security law and amid a spike in new Covid-19 infections.

The turnout was more than 13 per cent of registered voters and more than triple that of organisers’ expectations, prompting Mr Au to remark “this shows how brave Hong Kongers are”.

Voters in the unofficial primary will decide the pan-dem candidates to be fielded in the Sept 6 Legco election.

This comes even as there are worries that pan-dem candidates could be disqualified on various grounds. 

Last Thursday, Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Secretary Erick Tsang warned in an interview with Oriental Daily that anyone involved in the primaries could be breaching the national security law.

If convicted by the courts, violators would be barred from seeking or holding public office for an unspecified period.

 
 
 
 

The comments were quickly slammed by the pan-dems, who said Mr Tsang was trying to intimidate people into not voting.

The next day, police raided the office of the Pori which helped design the voting system for the unofficial primaries. 

On Monday, Prof Tai, who is one of the organisers of the primaries, said he believes the opposition camp might snap up 45 of the 70 seats in Legco. 

This, as pro-establishment supporters lean towards the opposition camp following the roll-out of the new security law.

“Now they may be also very dissatisfied with the present situation, with the enactment of the new national security law, so how can they defend the core values of Hong Kong? Ironically, this time they have to vote for “yellow” candidates, candidates of the democratic camp,” said the legal scholar.

When asked what would happen if the candidates picked through the primaries got disqualified before the Legco election, Prof Tai said those disqualified can nominate their choices to run for the seat.