SCMP Monday, September 11, 2000

Democrats take first blood


Updated at 9.05am:
Democrat legislators Lau Chin-shek and James To Kun-sun held on to their seats in a tight contest in Kowloon West.
Frederick Fung Kin-kee, who was voted out in the last elections in 1998, will return to the Legislative Council with the fourth available seat being taken by Democratic Alliance chairman Tsang Yok-sing.
Mr Fung's Alliance for Democracy and People's Livelihood had an early lead as the ballots were counted, raising the possibility that incumbent Democrat Mr To would lose his seat. But a joint ticket of the Democrats and the Confederation of Trade Unions gradually won back support to finish with 73,540 votes against 62,717 for the ADPL and 41,942 for the DAB.
Mr Tsang denied that the scandal surrounding his party's former vice-chairman giving confidential Legco papers to a tycoon had hurt his support.
''It's not far from expectations,'' he said after the announcement.
But Mr To was unhappy with the result, even though he will re-enter Legco.
''Last time we had around 124,000 votes and so we have lost a lot of people,'' he said.
''And as Lau Chin-shek is no longer a Democratic Party member, our party only got one seat in this constituency. If anything goes wrong, it would mean a lot for the party.''
Mr Fung, who fell out of favour with voters after he agreed to serve on the Beijing-appointed Provisional Legislature immediately after the handover, said he would become a champion of the poor.
''I will emphasise employment, because my district is a low-income area ... I will pressure the Government by forming alliances with other parties,'' he told
Mr Fung, ADPL chairman, added he would push for the territory to speed up its transition to full democracy.
''Hong Kong has all the conditions to allow democratic elections,'' he said.