Parties scrambling for Island support
The Civic Party's Tanya Chan reached the height of her political career so far in the last election when she topped the polls in the Hong Kong Island constituency of the Legislative Council election with 82,600 votes, or 26 per cent of the ballot, cast in the constituency.
It's a feat which saw her become a 'double councillor', adding to the district council seat she won just one year previously.
Chan said the victory in September 2008 was mainly because Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, the Civic Party's then leader and an incumbent lawmaker, was placed second on the party's electoral list, behind Chan - a strategy aimed at propelling the rookie politician into the legislature. The ploy worked, with both winning a place in Legco.
'She is very good in attracting votes, and very hard-working as well. Voters also accepted that even though Eu was second on the list, they would still cast their ballot for the Civic Party,' Chan said.
Four years on, Eu has decamped to New Territories West in an attempt to work the same magic on Kwok Ka-ki. Meanwhile, Chan is left to emulate what Eu did in 2008 by playing second fiddle to the Civic Party's chairman Kenneth Chan Ka-lok.
'It will be a very hard battle ... I hope voters can see we are fielding the best candidates possible citywide. And more importantly, Kenneth and I are both in our 40s - we are not very young, but it shows our sincerity [in giving younger] politicians a chance,' Chan emphasised.
Chan had earlier dubbed herself 'Chan Seven', referring to her hopes of clinching Hong Kong Island's seventh and final seat in a race based on proportional representation.
The seat was a new addition to the constituency, which was represented by six lawmakers from 2008 to 2012. The electoral reforms passed two years ago gave Hong Kong Island, with an electorate of 607,000, one more seat in the new, 70-member legislature.
Widely tipped to win a seat is Tsang Yok-sing from the Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, who won 60,417 votes (or 19.2 per cent of the vote) in the 2008 elections and then served as Legco president over the last four years. The Democratic Party's vice-chairman Sin Chung-kai is also thought to have a good chance of winning, because his party's ticket won 39,808 votes (12.6 per cent) four years ago.
However, the DAB's Eastern District Council chairman Christopher Chung Shu-kun and Liberal Party chairwoman Miriam Lau Kin-yee are likely to join Tanya Chan in the bitter dogfight for the seventh seat in the constituency.
For Lau, a 17-year transport sector lawmaker making her direct-election debut, her major rivals also include New People's Party heavyweight Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who won more than 61,000 votes (or 19 per cent of those cast) in 2008.
Still two months before the showdown, Lau and Ip exchanged fire indirectly when they registered to run on the first day of the nomination period.
Ip, while presenting her manifesto, described herself as 'the most independent and rational candidate, as well as the most daring in saying 'no' to the government'.
In return, Lau staged a little street theatre to mock Ip following rumours that she wanted to join the executive council. 'We are the ones who dare to say 'no',' Lau said.
A Liberal Party ticket headed by district councillor Alice Lam Chui-lin won less than 1 per cent of the ballot four years ago.
Another battlefield on the island sees the scramble for workers' support - between pan-democratic Labour Party vice-chairwoman Cyd Ho Sau-lan and Beijing-loyalist Federation of Trade Unions' Wong Kwok-hing. Both served as directly-elected lawmakers in the last term.
Formerly representing New Territories West, Wong vowed to fight for better conditions for workers and to speak out for small businesses. She says she should get the vote 'because there is no other candidate in the constituency who is from the working class; the seats were grabbed by political parties in the past and it should be changed'.
The contest will also play a role in determining whether the pan-democrats can maintain the so-called 60-40 ratio - a breakdown of votes highlighting the edge the pan-democrats have held over their pro-establishment rivals.
Including former League of Social Democrats vice-chairman Lo Wing-lok, who quit the party to run as an independent candidate, the 2008 election saw the pan-democratic camp secure 187,975 votes, or 59.7 per cent. Some 125,454 others, or 39.8 per cent, voted for Beijing-loyalist contenders.
Lo will run in the constituency, which also features Avery Ng Man-yuen from his old party, People Power's Christopher Lau Gar-hung, and the independents Hui Ching-on and Ng Wing-chun.
Next week: Kowloon West
HONG KONG ISLAND CONSTITUENCY
Population (2011) 1,270,876
Eligible voters 606,676
Number of seats 7
Major parties and candidates
Democratic Party: Sin Chung-kai
Civic Party: Kenneth Chan Ka-lok
People Power: Christopher Lau Gar-hung
League of Social Democrats: Avery Ng Man-yuen
New People's Party: Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee
DAB: Tsang Yok-sing
DAB: Christopher Chung Shu-kun
FTU: Wong Kwok-hing
Liberal Party: Miriam Lau Kin-yee