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Saturday, July 30, 2016, 00:19

Intense competition expected in LegCo election

By Joseph Li

HONG KONG - The Registration and Electoral Office received 154 nominations for the coming Sept 4 Legislative Council election - after the two-week nomination period ended on Friday.

The nominations comprised 89 tickets for geographical elections, with 65 people vying for functional constituency seats.

The number of nominations for 2016 indicates an increase compared with 72 geographical election tickets and 65 nominations for the functional constituency election from four years ago.

Intense competition is envisaged as 16 tickets fight for six seats in Hong Kong Island constituency. Some 22 tickets in New Territories West and 24 tickets in New Territories East are competing for nine seats in each of the two geographical constituencies.

The total number of voters is nearly 3.8 million - representing an increase of about 310,000 voters.

For Hong Kong Island constituency, only six seats will be returned compared with seven seats in 2012. Normally, the pro-establishment and “pan-democratic” camps are expected to share the six seats equally.

Hong Kong Television Network Chairman Ricky Wong Wai-kay has joined the race - and some analysts predict he has a chance of winning. With his business, middle class and “pan-democratic” background, Wong will have an impact on the Democratic Party (DP) and Labour Party, and also to some extent, the New People’s Party (NPP).

Other candidates who have signed up for Hong Kong Island constituency are: Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, Cheung Kwok-kwan, Kwok Wai-keung, Hui Chi-fung, Law Kwun-chung, Paul Zimmerman, Tanya Chan, Shum Chee-chiu, Wong Chi-him, Lau Gar-hung, Cyd Ho Sau-lan, Chim Pui-chung, Cheng Kam-mun, Chui Chi-kin and Lai Yee-man.

Competition in Kowloon West is relatively simple as the five incumbent lawmakers have a great chance of getting re-elected. Yet there is uncertainty about who will win the new seat at the expense of Hong Kong Island.

In Kowloon East, the situation is rather chaotic with 12 tickets competing for five seats. It has been predicted that the balance of power will remain unchanged. The Democratic Alliance for Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (HKFTU), the Democratic Party (DP), Civic Party (CP) and an individual lawmaker will all retain their seats because the rest are not serious contenders.

Twenty-two tickets are competing in New Territories West. The DAB (two seats), HKFTU and the New People’s Party are expected to retain their seats. But a couple of pro-establishment candidates are on the fringes. As for the opposite camp, the DP is hoping to fight back (they lost all their seats in this constituency in 2012) while other incumbent “pan-democrats” have a chance. The radical and nativist candidates, however, do not have a big chance.

The situation in New Territories East is equally confusing, with 24 tickets fighting for nine seats. The pro-establishment camp is expected to win at least four seats (DAB two, HKFTU and NPP) and the Liberal Party is a potential force.

In the District Council (Second) constituency, or “super seats”, pro-establishment candidates are expected to snatch three of the five seats. It is worth noting that the CP opposed electoral reform in 2010, which saw the introduction of super-seats. They are criticized as lacking integrity for contesting a “super seat”. The Neo Democrats are also competing, but they are comprised of dissidents who left the DP because they opposed the 2010 reform.

In functional constituencies, the candidates in eight constituencies are elected without a contest. It is also intriguing that in the legal constituency, Catherine Mun Lee-ming, who once campaigned for Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, will challenge incumbent Dennis Kwok Wing-hang from the party.

Kwok was criticized for not respecting the rule of law during the illegal occupation movement in 2014. When the Copyright (Amendment) Bill was debated in March, Kwok was said to be more inclined to the views of the CP. But he ignored the opinions of the Law Society of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Bar Association.

joseph@chinadailyhk.com

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