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Hong Kong election brings in younger, fresher faces

THE NEW DISTRICT COUNCILS in Hong Kong will be characterized by having more young newcomers and professionals after the latest council election was held on Sunday. With a turnout rate of 27.54%, the composition of the new District Council underlines the fact that Hong Kong is an open and pluralistic community.

Steven Ho Chun-yin is 44. Image by inmediahk.

In the election, candidates’ bids for District Council seats, either in geographical constituencies or District Committee constituencies, have been intense.

In Wan Chai geographical constituency, for instance, there were five candidates, including TV celebrity Sung Chih-ling (宋芝齡), vying fiercely for two seats – which is a good example of healthy, keen competition in the election. (Ms Sung’s image is below.)

In Yau Tsim Mong South geographical constituency, there were six candidates, including three from ethnic minority groups, competing for two seats. All candidates strived hard to canvass voters’ support during electioneering activities.

TV celebrity Adrianna Sung Chih-ling was one of five candidates in the Wan Chai geographical constituency. She didn’t make it, but fought a good fight.

Also, it is very encouraging to see that various newcomers and professionals have won in the election after voters focused more on community affairs and livelihood-related issues as highlighted in candidates’ respective agendas.

The Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), Mr Justice David Lok (centre), visits the Central Command Centre and Statistical Information Centre of the 2023 District Council Ordinary Election at the Kowloonbay International Trade and Exhibition Centre this morning (December 10) and gives support to the electoral staff. Also present are EAC members Professor Daniel Shek (left) and Mr Bernard Man, SC (right).

For example, Sung Ping-ping (宋冰冰), who has served as an officer in Tenant of Public Housing Care Association and worked on the welfare for public housing tenants, won in Wu Tip Shan geographical constituency in North District Council.

Candidates like Sung who won in geographical constituencies have extensive experience in districts and served residents in a pragmatic way.

Among others who clinched victory in geographical constituencies, there are professionals from business and financial management as well as education sectors.

Therefore, the new District Councils members are from a broad spectrum of backgrounds — politicians from various political parties, middle-class professionals, community leaders with district experience and young people. Apparently, the new District Council members will serve the best interests of residents in their districts – as compared with those political agitators who strived to advance their political agenda and paralyzed the government’s operations after 2019 District Council election.

Chief Executive John Lee visited one of the polling stations. Image: Government Information Services

Meanwhile, each political party fielded its young and service-minded candidates to contest the District Council election. Notably the average age of the candidates fielded by major political parties was about 37. Most are highly-educated with a Bachelor’s degree or above.

New District Council members have to work harder to serve their residents as geographical constituencies have been greatly expanded in revamped District Council electoral arrangement.

A ballot paper counting station. Image: Government Information Services.

Above all, revamping the electoral arrangement to restore the consultative functions of the District Councils has been in line with the actualities of Hong Kong. The new electoral arrangement has freed the District Council election from over-politicization, focusing on resolving livelihood-related issues in the community.

As stipulated in the Article 97 of the Basic Law, district organizations are not organs of political power and they may be established in Hong Kong, to be consulted by the SAR government on district administration and other affairs, or be responsible for providing services in such fields as culture, recreation and environmental sanitation.

The new electoral arrangement in District Council have attracted numerous young and competent people and professionals from different backgrounds to join as they can provide diverse opinions on community issues. With their aspirations and dedication, Hong Kong can look forward to more effective administration at district level in near future.

Henry Ho Kin-chung is Co-Founder of Friday Culture.

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