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Tuesday, November 3, 2015, 08:58

Carpetbaggers seen as unlikely to win

By Shadow Li in Hong Kong
Carpetbaggers seen as unlikely to win
President of the Legislative Council Jasper Tsang Yok-sing (right) and lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee (left) attend the Master annual forum in Central on Monday. Tsang said the influence of “Occupy Central” remained an uncerta in factor for both the pro-establishment and opposition camps in the coming district council election. (Roy Liu / China Daily)

“Parachute” candidates or carpetbaggers emerging after the city’s first-ever mass occupation campaign are unlikely to win or change the political landscape of the upcoming district council election, according to political leaders gathered at a forum on Monday.

They said this was because it would still be dominated by local issues, rather than political ones.

Legislative Council (LegCo) President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said the influence of “Occupy Central” remained an uncertain factor for both the pro-establishment and opposition camps in the coming district council election. But he said the carpetbaggers emerging after the protests were unlikely to win the election.

This month the city is preparing to see its first major election after the 79-day illegal “Occupy” protests last year. A total of 43 “parachute” candidates are officially contesting, along with members from traditional political parties. They are challenging the pro-establishment camp in 30 different constituencies and the opposition camp in six constituencies.

The district council polls come ahead of two major elections — in the legislature and administration — in the coming two years and are seen as the benchmark for both.

New People’s Party Chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee echoed Tsang’s view when she addressed the forum.

She said the pro-establishment camp still held an advantage, considering the political atmosphere. There were only a few carpetbaggers compared with the two major political camps.

Despite the opposition camp’s efforts to align themselves with political issues, such as the lead-in-water scandal or the Territory-wide System Assessment (TSA), Ip said she did not believe their strategies were having much impact.

It was clear that the pro-establishment camp would not suffer from a fiasco as it did in 2003 after the protest on July 1 that year, Tsang said.

Ip believed that a good outcome at the district council election would be beneficial to the pro-establishment camp in the Legislative Council election and might give their lawmakers enough votes to amend the rules of procedure in the legislature. This could put an end to the filibustering by the opposition camp that has paralyzed LegCo proceedings, she added.

Currently, several veteran lawmakers have already said they would not run for another term in 2016. This includes Tam Yiu-chung, former chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, one of the city’s largest pro-establishment parties, and Tsang as well.

But the outgoing head of the city’s legislature is concerned that the city lacks political talents needed to fill the vacancies. This was because political careers were often unattractive to young people.

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