Tang Ka-piu, the young hopeful of the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) and former lawmaker who failed to get re-elected to the Legislative Council last year, has recently become an official member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB).
It is widely believed that Tang is aggressively eyeing the upcoming Legco by-election in the geographical constituency of New Territories East and is very likely to run under both the DAB and FTU banners.
According to some pro-establishment lawmakers, Tang’s comeback could have substantial implications for the political landscape in New Territories East.
If Tang succeeds in getting re-elected, his return to Legco may undermine the election prospects of another pro-establishment lawmaker, Eunice Yong Hoi-yan of the New People’s Party, in the 2020 Legco election.
Yong, a young barrister and a political rookie, took some 36,000 votes in the last Legco election in New Territories East and won a seat in Legco, thanks to the carefully planned coordination on votes by the pro-Beijing camp.
However, rumor has it that some heavyweights in the pro-establishment camp are rather dismayed at Yong’s mediocre performance in Legco over the past year, particularly those in the traditional leftist camp, who, on the orders of the Beijing Liaison Office, put a lot of effort into rooting for her in the last election and securing her victory.
It is said that many of them are unhappy with Yong.
As far as Tang is concerned, he told the media that he joined the DAB not entirely for the sake of election.
He explained that the FTU to which he belongs focuses mainly on labor issues, and in order to broaden his horizons and enhance his understanding of other social issues, he needed a platform with a strong grassroots network through which he could reach out to the community to exchange views with ordinary citizens and find out their true wishes and concerns.
And the DAB just turned out to be exactly the kind of platform he had been looking for.
In fact, many current DAB members are also FTU members, and vice versa; after all, the two parties are both flagships of the pro-establishment camp.
Tang vowed that even if he eventually changed his mind and decided not to run in the by-election, he would definitely run again in 2020.
Tang’s comeback could seriously undermine Yong’s chances of getting re-elected in 2020 because New Territories East has long been a pan-democratic stronghold. Currently, the pro-Beijing camp only holds three seats out of the total nine, with two of them in the hands of the DAB and the remaining one held by Yong.
Now that Tang is officially a DAB member, if he is running in the 2020 election, the DAB will definitely root for him with all their means and will no longer transfer its resources or votes to other pro-establishment candidates like it did in the last election.
If that happens, chances are Eunice Yong, a political rookie without a strong local support base of her own, could get squeezed out of the race.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on July 27
Translation by Alan Lee
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