The 2004 Hong Kong Legislative Council Elections : the withering of the Democratic Party

Yiu Chung WONG

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


The Legislative Council (Legco) elections held on 12 September 2004 in Hong Kong was the third one after the Handover in 1997. The elections result surprised many in showing that the Democratic Party (DP), once the biggest party in Hong Kong Legco, has declined to become the third party, while the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) and the Liberal Party (LP) have become the first and second biggest political parties. The DAB’s victory was unexpected. After the humiliating defeat of its vice- chairman Ip Kwok-him in the District Council elections last November, the DAB's strategy was no more than to maintain its present strength. Instead its Legco seats increased. Although the pro-democracy camp as a whole scored 61.8% of the total voting rate, the result was not reflected in the returning seats because of the distorted’ nature of the proportional representation system, which was introduced after the Handover. Having won 25 seats, the pan-democracy group is still the minority in the pro- Beijing dominated Legco. Evidently, the DP is the loser in the game. Although Yeung Sum, the chairman of the DP, refused to accept the fact, the DP could not deny that it suffered the biggest blow in seven years. In a survey conducted in October 2004. the number of people who said that the DP represented them continued to decline from 16.5% in September to 13.8% in October, while the DP registered 19.2 % in a similar survey in August. I would argue that the DP was not only suffering a big blow, in fact, it is facing a crisis. This article attempts to examine the reasons why the DP's strength continued to decline and whether the reform strategy could reverse the trend.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-22
Number of pages16
JournalAsian Affairs : Journal of the Royal Society for Asian Affairs
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


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