November 29, 1999

The Democratic Party Gained 11 Seats in the District Councils Election

In the District Councils election that took place yesterday (November 28, 1999), the first one under the SAR government, the voters returned 86 or 50% of the Democratic Party candidates to the District Councils. This represented a net gain of 11 seats over last election.

Dr. YEUNG Sum, the Party's Vice-Chairman, also head of the Party's Election Subcommittee, commented:

"A success rate of 50% is not bad; but we would certainly like to do better. Compared to the last District Boards (the predecessors of the District Councils) election in 1994 we have a net gain of 11 seats. The success rate dropped a little and does cause us some concern. This year, we have a number of young, energetic candidates who stood in the election against much more experienced and well-funded opponents. We could have held them back in order to score an even better success rate. But instead we decided it is more important for these young people to get involved, to be baptized by the rituals of democracy."

When asked about the unexpected defeat of a few Party heavyweights, most notably Legislative Councilor Mr. Fred LI, Party Chairman Mr. Martin LEE noted:

"One point overlooked by many is that Fred, for example, let the Party's new blood try out in his own 'safe' district while he chose instead to run in a district in which he was less well established against a strong incumbent. In these small districts, intricate interpersonal networks tend to prevail. It often takes a long time for 'outsiders' to make inroads. Fred and others worked very hard, but obviously we needed more time.

"But I do not consider this to be a defeat. In 1994 Fred's opponent won by a margin of 1300 votes in a 2-way race. This time, also a 2-way race, he managed to sneak in only by a margin of 196 votes."

Martin LEE reserved his harshest comment for the SAR government, "The turnout rate for this election is only 36%, as opposed to 53% in last year's Legislative Council election. The government's decision to reinstate the appointment system to the District Councils, so that 102 members of the first District Councils will be appointed by the Chief Executive, really makes a mockery of democratic elections and is an insult to the intelligence of the voters, many of whom clearly stayed home."

Media Contact: Winnie Kwok (2529-0864,

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