Opinion poll touted to pick democrat candidate

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2007, 12:00am

Pan-democrats are considering holding an opinion poll to decide the camp's representative for a Legislative Council by-election on Hong Kong Island.

They want to resolve any dispute between hopefuls from different political parties for the by-election, triggered by the death last week of Ma Lik, leader of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

Pressure seems to be easing on Cyd Ho Sau-lan, the only democrat so far to state she intends to run, after potential rivals in the camp appeared to tone down their initial desire to stand.

Democratic Party district councillor Kam Nai-wai, who has said he intends to run, said the best way for the camp to decide on a candidate would be through a preliminary selection mechanism, possibly in the form of an opinion poll.

'There should be only one candidate representing the camp, otherwise we will lose,' Mr Kam said.

But he said he was at a 'different level' to high-profile figures such as Ms Ho and former security chief Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee - the expected Beijing loyalist candidate - in terms of popularity.

The reason for him to stand was to establish a mechanism making it easier for second-tier democrats to run in future.

Civic Party legislator Ronny Tong Ka-wah, who said party members believed Ms Ho was a suitable candidate, said there should be a system under which a candidate could be chosen.

Emily Lau Wai-hing, of The Frontier, acting on behalf of democrats, will invite the League of Social Democrats to a meeting next Tuesday to co-ordinate the election efforts.

While the League has yet to show any intention of joining the race, leader Wong Yuk-man said they were 'very angry' that the Democrats and Civic Party had not consulted the League earlier.

Ms Ho, who lost her seat in the Island constituency in 2004 as a result of tactical voting for veteran Democrat Martin Lee Chu-ming, has launched her campaign.

She has begun lobbying support from political parties and forming a campaign team.

The public can sign books of condolence for Ma at the DAB headquarters in Fortress Hill and its 18 district branches.

Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen and Legco president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai - both deputy directors of Ma's funeral committee, were among those paying condolences at the DAB headquarters yesterday.

Mrs Fan said she had contacted Ma's widow and mother, who had both faced his death bravely.