ADPL steps aside for pan-democrat cause
Colleen Lee, Peter So and Joyce Ng
The Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL) has pulled out of two constituencies in the Legco election amid concern infighting could kill the pan-democratic camp's chances of winning a third of the 70 seats up for grabs.
The party has withdrawn its slates of candidates in the New Territories West and Kowloon East constituencies a week after registering them, and will run only in Kowloon West.
Kowloon East candidate Hui Kam-shing will now rank second on a slate of candidates for the new 'super seats' in the functional constituency for district councils - to be elected by a citywide poll of 3.2 million voters who do not vote in other functional constituencies.
New Territories West hopeful Bruce Liu Sing-lee will join the group's Kowloon West slate, ranking behind vice-chairman Tam Kwok-kiu. The original three-candidate slate will be expanded to five.
'In Kowloon East and New Territories West, there is intense fighting between the pro-establishment and pan-democratic camps, in particular for the final seat at stake,' Tam said. 'After internal discussion, we are willing to support the League of Social Democrats in Kowloon East and consider backing the Democratic Party in New Territories West.'
He said the changes were not prompted by fear of defeat. 'If we feared losing, we would arrange for Frederick Fung to defend his seat in Kowloon West instead of contesting a super seat.'
Even after the withdrawals, there are still eight slates of candidates competing for five seats in Kowloon East and 16 slates scrambling for nine seats in New Territories West. Nominations close on Tuesday.
The ADPL is understood to have taken the decision because its polling in Kowloon East showed the League's Andrew To Kwan-hang and the Democratic Party slate led by Josephine Chan Shu-ying would probably be among those battling for the final seat in their constituencies.
Fung estimated the ADPL would be able to muster about 10,000 votes in each of the districts for their allies.
Both To and Chan welcomed the ADPL's move. Chan and league chairman 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung said their parties would have to discuss whether to campaign for Fung in his bid for a super seat.
Pan-democrats are determined to secure at least 24 of the 70 seats in the September 9 election so that the camp retains the power to veto legislative proposals.
Under reforms passed two years ago, the new Legco will comprise 70 lawmakers, up from 60, with five new legislators representing geographical constituencies as well as the five 'super lawmakers'.