Hong Kong’s biggest pro-Beijing party, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), will remain the dominant grouping in the expanded Legislative Council following Sunday’s newly-restricted “all patriots” election.

DAB chief Starry Lee heralded the election results as a “hard earned” breakthrough for the party, despite the record-low turnout. Its candidates took half of the 20 seats in the directly-elected geographical constituencies, and the party will hold 19 of the legislature’s 90 seats in total.

The party received over 51 per cent of ballots cast by 680,000 voters in the 10 geographical constituencies. The five candidates with the most votes were all DAB members, with Lee herself topping the charts with 95,976.

DAB candidate Lau Kwok-fun was canvassing in Fanling on Sunday afternoon. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Lee thanked voters for their support and also expressed gratitude to campaign staffers and disciplinary service officers for ensuring a smooth polling day. “After the election was improved, everyone elected is a patriot regardless of their background and opinion on reform and the path forward,” she told a press conference.

New People’s Party chief Regina Ip, who is running in the Hong Kong Island West district, canvassed in Aberdeen on Sunday morning. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

She blamed the government’s failure to provide detailed voter information for the historic low turnout of 30.2 per cent, saying it was “expected.” The party would nevertheless respect Hongkongers’ choices and continue its work in the next legislature to solve Hong Kong’s “deep-rooted conflicts” in hopes of changing Hongkongers views in the future.

Candidates with the top 10 numbers of votes

ConstituencyCandidateVotes
Received
Party
KOWLOON CENTRALLEE WAI KING STARRY95,976DAB
NEW TERRITORIES NORTH WESTCHOW HO DING HOLDEN93,195DAB
NEW TERRITORIES SOUTH WESTCHAN HAN PAN83,303DAB
NEW TERRITORIES SOUTH EASTLI SAI WING82,595DAB
NEW TERRITORIES NORTHLAU KWOK FAN70,584DAB
HONG KONG ISLAND WESTIP LAU SUK YEE REGINA65,694NPP
KOWLOON EASTTANG KA PIU65,036DAB
HONG KONG ISLAND EASTNG CHAU PEI64,509FTU
KOWLOON WESTCHENG WING SHUN VINCENT64,353DAB
KOWLOON EASTNGAN MAN YU64,275DAB

The pro-establishment New People’s Party headed by Regina Ip, meanwhile, expanded its foothold in the legislature from two to five seats, with only one candidate – Marcus Liu – who lost. Ip said she was “very satisfied by the election results” but the “great victory” was within expectations.

Photo: NPP via Facebook.

Ip said the low voter turnout should not be compared to past elections, as the Legislative Council had been completely restructured and the electoral system changed. She praised the support she said she got from voters across nationalities and races in Hong Kong Island West.

In March, 2021, Beijing passed legislation to ensure “patriots” govern Hong Kong. The move reduced democratic representation in the legislature, tightened control of elections and introduced a pro-Beijing vetting panel to select candidates. The Hong Kong government said the overhaul would ensure the city’s stability and prosperity. But the changes also prompted international condemnation, as it makes it near-impossible for pro-democracy candidates to stand.

Non-pro-establishment figures

Among candidates who lost on Sunday, Frederick Fung – a former democrat and a candidate who was not in the pro-establishment camp – said he was disappointed by the result and cited the low turnout as the main reason, Stand News reported. After having lost five elections in the past six years, Fung said he “would reconsider” whether to run again.

Hong Kong Island East Candidate Jason Poon was canvassing in Tai Koo. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Jason Poon, a construction engineer and whistle blower of the MTR’s Shatin-Central Link scandal in 2018, lost his race to a candidate from the pro-Beijing HKFTU Stanley Ng and the DAB’s Edward Leung.

The election “was clearly monochrome – it seems like it did not achieve what some might have wanted. It clearly wasn’t multicoloured,” Poon said. He was referring to comments by the director of China’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office Xia Baolong in early December, that the election changes would ensure diversity in the legislature.

LATEST on the ‘patriots only’ poll

Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit, Hong Kong Free Press is #PressingOn with impartial, award-winning, frontline coverage.

Selina Cheng

Selina Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist who previously worked with HK01, Quartz and AFP Beijing. She also covered the Umbrella Movement for AP and reported for a newspaper in France. Selina has studied investigative reporting at the Columbia Journalism School.