The election sees an unprecedented voter turnout in Hong Kong, on Nov 24, 2019. [Photo/VCG]

The overwhelming victory for the anti-establishment camp in the just-concluded 2019 District Council elections was a surprise, said Liberal Party leader Felix Chung Kwok-pan.

It was contrary to many people’s belief that the pro-establishment camp could suffer such a humiliating defeat.

With the opposition camp dominating 17 of the 18 district councils, he predicts this will pose very big challenges for the government in terms of the political landscape and the 2020 Legislative Council election.

Owing to the fact that a different electoral system is used for Legislative Council elections, the pro-establishment camp can still win 38 or 39 seats to remain the majority camp — barring any incidents or mistakes by the government.

Chung told China Daily: “At the beginning, we sensed the result of the pro-establishment camp would not be too good. We thought the voting margin would be 60-40 or even 70-30, but nobody, not even the opposition camp, would imagine an 85-15 winning margin, whereas in the Wong Tai Sin and Tai Po district councils, it was all-in for the ‘pan-democrats’, leaving no room for voices from the pro-establishment camp.

“In a mature, civilized society, we must respect the election result,” the Liberal Party leader said.

He said the election result showed what people were thinking and also that what the government had done in the past six months had infuriated people. Otherwise, not as many people would have come out to vote, and the result would have not been like this. “The government must listen more to the people,” Chung said.

“Yet at the same time, the election result shows that the people put politics above everything, having no or very little regard for the district service of candidates. This is not a healthy trend. Only when different, balanced voices are heeded can we maintain a healthy trend.”

A brief truce or cessation of violence occurred a few days before and after the Nov 24 district polling, Chung said. But violent demonstrations flared up again in several districts on the Saturday and Sunday.

“The militant protesters didn’t care too much about the election as what they want is a ‘lose-lose’ outcome,” he said. “But as the ‘pan-democrats’ wanted the election to go ahead because they thought they could win, the militant protesters stopped the violence for a while to stop the election from being canceled. I guess they will continue the violence until the LegCo election next year to force the government to respond,” he added.

Chung says this is a warning for the government and pro-establishment camp. However, since a proportional representation voting system is used in LegCo elections, unlike a “single-ticket single-seat” voting system for district elections, he said the establishment’s result will be fine. Unless there are any special incidents and errors by the government, the establishment can clinch 13 to 14 geographical seats plus 24 to 25 functional constituency seats to command a majority in the legislature.

However, personal votes rather than corporate ones are counted in certain functional constituencies — such as the engineering and surveying sectors. So it is vital these sectors do not fall to the opposition camp, Chung added.