Power Transfer and Electoral Politics:The First Legislative Election in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
Power Transfer and Electoral Politics:The First Legislative Election in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
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  • This book provides an in-depth analysis of the election to the Hong Kong Legislative Council in May 1998, which was the first general election in Hong Kong since the change of sovereignty to China in 1997. The election was conducted in the wake of the government’s mismanagement on some major instances on health and other aspects of public concern and amid widespread hardships inflicted by the Asian financial crisis. Nevertheless, the election still had the highest turnout rate in Hong Kong’s entire history. The elected legislature replaced the Provisional Legislative Council, which was a product of the Sino-British conflict before the change-over. However, as a result of institutional design and electoral outcome, this duly-elected Legislative Council has been fragmented and weak in its legislative and supervisory powers; and therefore there are long-term implications for the governance of Hong Kong in general and for the executive-legislative relations in particular.

    Contributors to this volume are renowned scholars in Hong Kong studies. The various aspects of the 1998 legislative election are critically examined, trying to ascertain their exact meanings and clarify doubts. Questions such as the following are properly addressed to: Did the transfer of sovereignty have any impact on the systems of election, representation, and authority? What was the impact of institutional change on the conduct of electoral campaigns? Did the end of colonialism and the advent of “one country, two systems” help to activate Hong Kong voters who were once dubbed “attentive spectators”? Did the “China factor” which had been influential in the 1991 and 1995 elections give way to other electoral divisions? Did the mass media properly perform their roles during the election? Does the emergence of class and economic issues during the election signify a new era of “political normalization”? Will the now legitimately constituted Legislative Council have political clout? What is in store for the future?

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