There are, roughly speaking, four main categories of contestant this year. Three are traditional – the pan-democrats, pro-establishment and independents (or ‘other’) have contested elections in various forms since day one. The new kids on the block are the localist offspring of the Umbrella Movement: the Umbrella Soldiers.
The Umbrella Movement gave many young people a taste of the limelight and impressed their peers, indeed, the world, with their political organising skills. When criticised by pro-establishment lawmakers for inciting students to join the Occupy Movement in October 2014, Fernando Cheung of the Labour Party told a LegCo meeting, “Come on! We would be very pleased if [students] scold us pan-dems a little less.”
While some groups, like Scholarism (Joshua Wong and co), have formally eschewed standing in elections, some are keen to join the fray and even stand against fellow democracy fighters. Most are localists, meaning they advocate a ‘Hong Kong first’ ethos in the face of Mainland encroachment.
Leaders: Wong Yeung-tat, Cheng Chung-tai.
Origin: Originally under People Power (see pan-democrat parties), but broke off from the organisation when Raymond Wong Yuk-man fell out with People Power’s main supporter, Stephen Shiu.
Key Positions: Localist. Anti-pan-democrats. Anti-CCP. Pro-democracy.
Need to know: Running six candidates. Powerful political propaganda machine in Passion Times, an online media outlet. Five out of six candidates are competing against Democratic Party candidates.
Leader: Baggio Leung.
Origin: Young Umbrella Movement participants banded together to start a political party to kick out the pro-establishment from the district council and, ultimately, LegCo.
Key Positions: Localist. Pro-democracy. Supports cancelling the MPF offsetting mechanism. Supports doctors in the ongoing Hospital Authority/doctors controversy.
Need to know: Running nine candidates in total. Endorsed by respected pundit Li Yi. Refused to move aside for the Democratic Party candidates in certain districts.
Rings of the North
Leader: Wong Ka-ho.
Origin: Emerged after the Umbrella Movement, consisting of Northern district residential areas and focused on local district matters.
Key Positions: Anti-parallel traders. Protested against expensive waterworks in Cheung Wah Estate, forestalling payment by residents.
Need to know: No coordination with the Democratic Party – will run against a Democratic Party candidate.
Coordinated under the banner of the ‘Democratic Coalition for DC Election’. They generally failed to reach an agreement with pro-democrats and localists and so many will face localist and pro-establishment opposition this year.
Leader: Emily Lau.
Super seat contender: James To and Albert Ho, both current ‘super’ district councillors, have yet to reveal who will run next.
Key Positions: Pan-democratic. More willing to communicate with Beijing than other pan-democrats.
Need to know: Grand dame of
democracy in Hong Kong, the party of Martin Lee. 95 candidates running; 30 fewer than in the last election, where they received 17.4 percent of the vote and won 47 seats. Clashing with ‘Umbrella soldiers’ in many districts due to lack of coordination and disagreement over priority to run.
Leader: Audrey Eu.
Superseat Contender: Kenneth Chan Ka Lok.
Key Positions: Running mostly in the more middle-class districts. Appeal with their professional image.
Need to know: 26 candidates. Rumoured that Kenneth Chan (currently in LegCo, Kowloon East) wants to contend for a super seat as his party wants to create an opportunity for Tanya Chan to take his geographical seat in LegCo next year.
League of Social Democrats
Leader: ‘Long hair’ Leung Kwok-hung.
Super seat Contender: None.
Key Positions: Social democrats. Grass root representation. Supports Universal Pension Scheme.
Need to know: Seven candidates this year. All 28 candidates failed their bids in 2011.
Leader: Lee Cheuk-yan (also Chair of Confederation of Trade Unions).
Super seat Contender: None.
Key Positions: Labour policy. Pro-democracy. Grassroots. Pro-human rights.
Need to know: 12 candidates running. Member Kwok Wing-kin became the first Labour Party district councillor in the by-elections in July this year for the San Fu district.
Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood (ADPL)
Leader: Bruce Liu Sing-lee.
Super seat Contender: Frederick Fung (current ‘super’ district councillor).
Key Positions: Grassroots. Pro-democracy.
Need to know: 26 candidates running. 16 incumbent district councillors.
Leader: Erica Yuen.
Super seat Contender: None.
Key Positions: Radical pro-democracy. Not coordinating under the Democratic Coalition, but not localist either.
Need to know: 14 candidates running. Sole incumbent Tam Heung-Man joined People Power after being elected.
With views generally leaning towards support of Beijing and the Government of China. The gloves are off between the pan-democrats and the pan-establishment camp since Occupy.
The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB)
Leaders: Starry Lee; Tam Yiu-chung; Ip Kwok-him.
Super seat Contender: Starry Lee, a current ‘super’ district councillor will likely run again. Key Positions: Core member of pro-establishment camp. Support the administration’s position in most cases, though key figure Jasper Tsang has been riling CY Leung recently.
Need to know: Beijing’s metaphorical 800lb gorilla, with deep pockets and tons of resources. Fielding the largest team of 171 candidates (111 incumbents) and has a presence in all 18 districts; 21 out of 68 uncontested candidates are from DAB.
Federation of Trade Unions
Leader: Chan Yuen-han, Lam Suk-yee.
Super seat contender: Chan Yuen-han, a current ‘super’ district councillor, is not running for another term. Wong Kwok-hing, senior party member, is expected to be the party’s replacement candidate.
Key positions: Follows the government’s line in most cases, but may criticise welfare policies.
Need to know: The government’s trade union and enemy of the anti-government Confederation of Trade Unions (CTU). Fielding 51 candidates with 29 incumbents; seven uncontested contenders including LegCo lawmakers Kwok Wai-keung and Alice Mak.
New People’s Party
Leader: Regina Ip; Michael Tien.
Super seat contender: None indicated at present, but remaining wily.
Key Positions: Pro-middle class/professionals; Regina Ip has been mooted as CE candidate in 2017.
Need to know: Personality driven by two star leaders. Lots of ideas from Regina Ip’s think tank, Savantas. Fielding 42 candidates with 28 incumbents. There are seven uncontested contenders.
Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA)
Leader: Andrew Leung; Jeffrey Lam.
Super seat contender: None indicated.
Key positions: Pro-business. Hostile towards the Liberal Party, but will coordinate (for example, Sham Shui Po district council chair Jimmy Kwok is not running in his constituency to make way for the Liberal Party’s Dominic Lee). Complains, but votes with government.
Need to know: All about big business. Fielding 15 candidates with 13 incumbents; six out of seven lawmakers are from functional constituencies.
Leader: Vincent Fang (leader), Felix Chung (chair).
Super seat contender: No stated plan, but are shooting for the nomination threshold of 15 district council seats.
Key positions: Pro-business, especially small business. Seeks the mantle of free market party. Hostile towards BPA.
Need to know: ‘Bad boy’ of the pro-establishment camp, with increasingly independent views. Former leader is James Tien, brother of Michael Tien (see New People’s Party). Fielding 19 candidates with nine incumbents. Four out of five lawmakers are from functional constituencies. Did not follow the march-out of other pro-establishment lawmakers during the political reform vote. James Tien’s recent Facebook posts, which mocked CY Leung and Regina Ip, are proving popular.
Local newspapers like Ming Pao are running stories on people standing as independent candidates, but a cursory examination of their history shows myriad links to Beijing-connected groups. Could your ‘independent’ candidate in fact be a pro-Beijing figure? No problem with that, of course – but you should know what you’re voting for.
Sixty-six candidates are from the pro-establishment Hong Kong Island Federation, Kowloon Federation of Associations and the New Territories Association of Societies, but only five have declared connections to the groups. At least 22 more are members of pro-establishment groups. Some notable figures include National People’s Congress delegate and chairman of the Kowloon Federation of Associations; Bunny Chan and lawmaker Paul Tse. Among the 213 candidates on the pan-democrats’ ‘recommended list’, 22 declared independence or no political affiliation.
Raymond Ho Man Kit
Where they are running: Choi Kin constituency – Sai Kung district.
Running against: Jacob Ng
Interesting because: Political vehicle is Momentum 107, a group Ho founded to promote balanced budgets and reduce taxes based on Basic Law Article 107.
Andrew Shuen Pak Man
Where they are running: Do Shin constituency – Sai Kung district.
Running against: So Ho, Ruby Mok, Cheung Chin Pang
Interesting because: Founder of Lion Rock Institute. Youngest person to ever run for LegCo.
Where they are running: Pok Fu Lam constituency – Southern district.
Running against: Jeremy Young Chit On
Interesting because: CEO of Designing Hong Kong. The only ’gweilo’ elected since the handover.
Joseph Lam Chok
Where they are running: Lung Sing constituency – Wong Tai Sin district.
Running against: Ngok King Fun, Ho Wai Kuen, Tam Heung Man
Interesting because: Boyfriend of Miss Hong Kong. Seen as a pro-establishment candidate but claims to be a moderate democrat. Received support from renowned anti-Beijing commentator Chip Tsao.
Where they are running: Fanling South constituency – North district.
Running against: Raymond Ho Shu Kwong
Interesting because: Ousted from the Democratic Party for publicly supporting the government’s political reform proposal.
Where they are running: Cherry constituency – Yau Tsim Mong district.
Running against: Lam Ho Yeung, Chung Chak Fai
Interesting because: Don’t let the name fool you – Hitsujiko is definitely a Hongkonger. Hitsujiko’s assumed name is 中出羊子, which comes out in English as Nakade Hitsujiko. But the characters in Chinese translate as ‘Cream Pie Lamb’. (Go to Urban Dictionary to translate that one – definitely NSFW.) A transvestite running on a localist campaign to build the Hong Kong nation. Maybe even a separatist. Adherent of Wan Chin. Philosopher king of the localist sect.
All Hong Kong permanent residents aged 18 or above, who live in Hong Kong, are eligible to vote in district and legislative
council elections. If you have not previously voted, you need to register first. Go to voterregistration.gov.hk for more. Polls are open from 7.30am until 10.30pm on Sunday November 22.