Lee sees fatal flaw in political ecology

Updated: 2012-08-15 06:55

By Kahon Chan(HK Edition)

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Lee sees fatal flaw in political ecology

Starry Lee Wai-king believes a flaw in the city's political ecology, in which it is almost hopeless for one party to run the administration, may have encouraged the opposition to take conflicts and filibustering to extremes.

As the legislative councillor concludes her first four-year venture as a lawmaker, the escalating attacks from the opposition, she said, were her most memorable experiences.

"They curse you and your mother. They give the middle fingers. I don't think these (behaviors) belong to a democratic society," she said. The filibustering that occurred towards the end of her term, she described, was an "extreme" of irrationality.

"Though we don't share the same political ideology, it shouldn't have become a life-or-death conflict," she said.

Democratic Alliance of Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) pledges in its LegCo manifesto to seek non-partisan unity. While Lee hopes to achieve the impossible goal through dialogue, she was also aware that there is no incentive for extremists to play down their resistance because of the "flawed" political set-up.

"Our Legislative Council can only play the role of opposition, as there is such a low possibility for any party to rule," she said. "(Opposition in) other countries seldom push the envelope too far because they might have to deliver one day as a ruling party."

With the veto power, she said the opposition is encouraged to "push the edge further and further". If the design of the political system is not well examined in the constitutional reform, she is worried that the "political deadlock" will continue.

Lee's territory-wide appeal will be put to test in the September election, as she was directed by DAB to compete for one of the five super seats.

Eying the median voters, DAB has been pitching Lee heavily in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. Recent polls, however, showed that both DAB candidates are running behind Chan Yuen-han of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKFTU). Lee, in particular, would struggle to win the last super seat.

"Competition is competition. I don't think (HKFTU) will offer us help," she said. Her priority is to consolidate support of loyal followers, which is harder than it appears since voters might not want to cast both ballots to DAB.

Other factors are battering the campaign trail. Lee, who was just appointed as a non-official member of the Executive Council, said their assessment of the situation concluded that their outlook remained "intense and grim".

"After all, the people have held different views on the recent events of the new government. It might affect our appeal to the median voters," she said, adding that the HK$6 billion elderly subsidies has not favored their odds because it was still a proposal.

Another disadvantage, as she admitted herself, was her lack of eyebrow-raising "soundbites". While acknowledging her calmness will not stand out in electoral forum, she has no plan to transform herself.

"I hope the voters will know me as a rational newcomer that will speak for the people and deliver results. The key is whether I can help the people," she said.

To draw attention among youth, she also created a cartoon representation of herself and advocated policies that favor upward mobility for young people. A more diverse economy, for instance, could create new entrepreneurs and job opportunities. "It would be a failure of the whole society if the youth feel hopeless," she said.

As Lee concentrates on her campaign at the moment, she said there was no "plan B" to prepare for a loss of the LegCo seat.

Other candidates running for the super seats include Lau Kwong-wah, Albert Ho Chun-yan, James To Kun-sun, Frederick Fung Kin-kee and Pamela Peck Wan-kam.


(HK Edition 08/15/2012 page1)