Pro-establishment parties name standard-bearers

Updated: 2011-09-15 07:11

By Guo Jiaxue (HK Edition)

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 Pro-establishment parties name standard-bearers

New People's Party Chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee (center), Vice-Chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun (right to Ip) and other party members chanted slogans at a news conference on Wednesday, during which the party announced a list of 10 members who will seek office in the upcoming District Council elections. Edmond Tang / China Daily

Two parties affiliated to the pro-establishment camp - Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) and New People's Party (NPP) - named their list of candidates for November's District Council elections on Wednesday, one day before the opening of nominations.

The DAB will send a veritable army of candidates into the election, naming 181 party hopefuls to join the fray.

The ticket includes three legislators: Ip Kwok-him, Starry Lee Wai-king, and Wong Yung-kan.

There are 114 incumbent district councilors on the list and 50 fresh faces to contest the district council election.

DAB Chairman Tam Yiu-chung said this year's election comes with "difficulty and pressure".

He said he expects a large field of candidates, including more well-known politicians.

New political parties will join the fray, attracted to the race by the prospect for becoming "super" district councilors.

Five so-called super seats chosen from elected district councilors will provide an alternative means for entering the Legislative Council.

Moreover, the expanded pool of electors who will comprise the Chief Executive Election Committee will also include district councilors.

The DAB, the largest political party in Hong Kong, predicts a tougher challenge this time. But the party still wants more. It aims to expand on the 117 seats it already holds.

The NPP, the party established in January, will nominate 10 candidates contesting its first election.

The party said the list of candidates will include professional people and retired public servants.

Chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee voiced confidence that the party will draw votes from middle-class, centrist voters, and civil servants, especially those in the disciplined services.

Ip said she believes the party already has a groundswell of voters' support in the 10 constituencies it has chosen to run candidates.

Those constituencies include four on Hong Kong Island, all middle-class residential areas, as well as two in Kowloon East, one in New Territories East, and three in New Territories West.

The party will nominate Wat Ki-on, chairman of the Hong Kong Fire Services Department Ambulancemen's Union, and 29-year police veteran Tony Liu Kit-ming to contest the two seats in Kowloon East. Voters there include many members of the disciplined services.

Current Tai Hang District Councilor David Wong Chor-fung will seek re-election.

Ip personally introduced Wong, saying Wong was a bulwark for Tai Hang residents against the advances of property developers on issues like compulsory sale of old buildings for redevelopment.

Two staff members from Ip's office, her assistant, Marcus Tse Tsz-kei and Community Coordination Officer William Ang Kai-teng, will run for the two seats in the major middle-class community Tai Koo Shing.

Ip described those two areas in Tai Koo Shing as the most "challenging" for her party among the 10 electoral areas.

"It's difficult to distribute flyers and to get in touch with residents in Tai Koo Shing, so we rely a lot on our party's ideas to attract voters," she said.

She said she will not evaluate the success of her party on the number of seats the party wins, but on the overall votes.

That will be the measure upon which the party bases its plans for next year's Legislative Council election, she said.

Vice-Chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun is not on the list of the party's candidates.

Tien said he is still considering his candidacy and will not make his decision until just days before the nomination period ends on Sept 28.

If he chooses to run, Tien said he believes he has a good chance of wining.

Another party in the pro-establishment camp, the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, will announce its list of 48 candidates in the next couple of days, Chairman Cheng Yiu-tong said on Wednesday.

The goal is to elect 24 candidates - half of its slate. The federation won 21 areas in the last election.