Elections and political mobilisation : the Hong Kong 1991 direct elections

Research output: Other contributionThesis/Dissertation


Previous studies of the first direct elections to the Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo) in 1991 were largely focused on the effect of the Tiananmen Incident on voters' choice, neglecting the domestic dimension of social conflict evolving within Hong Kong from the 1970s. Adopting the social cleavage approach, the present thesis argues that two electoral cleavages, centre-periphery and collective consumption, were important by 1991. It, therefore, explores the international, social and political contexts within which the 1991 LegCo direct elections took place in order to explain the political alignments and electoral cleavages during the period 1982-1991. First, the study examines the Sino-British attitudes towards political reforms in Hong Kong and the development of the centre-periphery cleavage in the 1980s as the two countries negotiated the transfer of sovereignty. Second, the expansion of the Hong Kong Government's activities and its privatisation programmes are analyzed in order to describe the increasingly intimate relations between government and society and to show that, as a result, conflicts evolved over issues of collective consumption. Third, the emerging competition at the time of the 1991 elections is discussed with reference to political mobilisation and alignments during the previous decade. Fourth, the electoral market of 1991 is examined to explain voters' choice. Finally, the election results are analyzed to demonstrate that two electoral cleavages, centre-periphery and collective consumption, played a significant role. The data used in this study were collected from: official documents, such as the Hong Kong Government Gazette, the Sino-British Joint Declaration, the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Census and By-census reports, the annual reports of various government departments; opinion polls and one exit poll of the 1991 LegCo direct elections; personal interviews with leading political leaders; campaign materials and election debates on television; and newspaper cuttings.
Original languageEnglish
TypeDoctoral thesis
Publisher London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


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