25 May 1998

The Democratic Party Commends Hong Kong People for Voting; Pledges to Use Mandate to Fight for Full Democracy

Today Democratic Party legislators led by Chairman Martin Lee celebrated Hong Kong's highest ever electoral turnout of 53.29% and their own popular vote victory, despite great odds. Hong Kong voters defied torrential rain and manipulated election laws to make their wishes known to Hong Kong's appointed leader, C.H.Tung, China and the world.

The first election in Hong Kong as part of China resulted in a mandate for pro-democracy candidates of over 60% of the popular vote. However, as Martin Lee has long predicted, because of manipulated electoral laws, democrats will occupy barely a third of the seats in the Hong Kong legislature. The Democratic Party won 13 seats in total, and with their democratic allies, will occupy only 20 of 60 seats in the Legislative Council.

The Democrats said that the turnout of nearly 1.5 million Hong Kong voters -- an all time high -- signified the indomitable desire of HK people for full democracy and that the turnout "put a stake through the heart of the cliche that 'Hong Kong people do not want democracy -- they just want to make money.'"

Tonight, the Democrats celebrated their triumph with cake, champagne and by asserting that the election results put Hong Kong Chief Executive C.H. Tung and China on notice that HK people are determined to fully elect their legislature in the year 2000.

Democratic Party Chairman Martin Lee commented:

"This is a phenomenal affirmation of the democratic process. There could be no clearer message from Hong Kong people. They have defied terrible weather conditions, terrible election laws and conventional wisdom to make their democratic aspirations known.

The world has always underestimated Hong Kong people. Now, they have spoken with one voice, to say that we in Hong Kong want to choose our own leaders through democratic elections. They have said, 'We are Chinese and we want democracy.' And, clearly, this democratic triumph under Chinese rule has broader implications for all of China's 1.2 billion people.

Our party has won close to half of the popular vote, but because the process is weighted in favour of pro-Beijing parties, we will have a minority in the legislature. Our votes will be strongly outnumbered by those who did not dare stand for genuine election and who are manifestly not representative of Hong Kong people.

These elections have confirmed that the trend toward more open, democratic and accountable societies across Asia is unstoppable. We have been fighting for many years for this goal and we intend to use our clear mandate from Hong Kong people to push for full democracy in Hong Kong -- both for the Legislative Council and for the post of Chief Executive. We are profoundly grateful to Hong Kong people for giving us this opportunity."

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