Democrats endorse Anson Chan as poll choice

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 October, 2007, 12:00am

Anson Chan Fang On-sang officially became the pan-democrats' candidate in the December 2 Legislative Council by-election yesterday, with a resounding win over rival Lo Wing-Lok.

But the former chief secretary failed to gain majority support in a survey of voters in the electorate, a sign that securing the Legco seat may not be as easy.

Mrs Chan's victory over the League of Social Democrats' contender was determined by a combination of a public opinion poll held in the Hong Kong Island constituency and a primary election among pan-democrats. In the end, she received 77.3 marks out of 100, but won 47 per cent support in the opinion poll.

Of the 1,013 respondents in the poll, 10.9 per cent backed Dr Lo, 29.9 per cent said they supported neither Dr Lo nor Mrs Chan, and 12.2 per cent were undecided.

Responding to the poll findings, Mrs Chan said: 'I've never underestimated the difficulty of seeking support from the electorate.'

Having won the pan-democrats' endorsement, Mrs Chan, who was chief secretary from 1993 to 2001, will face former secretary for security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who is backed by the Beijing-friendly Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and the Liberal Party.

With the by-election two months away, Mrs Chan said she would try her best to convince voters with her experience, values and commitment.

'Of course the voters have their own choice. But that doesn't mean the preference of some voters would not change later.'

Political analyst James Sung Lap-kung, of City University, said given Mrs Chan's public image and stature, the 47 per cent support was disappointing.

'She was not fully prepared for the debate. Her positions on some key political issues have also been criticised as ambiguous,' he said.

However, Democratic Party legislator Yeung Sum said support for Mrs Chan and Dr Lo added up to about 60 per cent. 'It's not disappointing. The figures are within expectations,' he said. 'They just reflect voter preference in the past.'

He said Mrs Chan's middle-class image and long public service record, together with an expected high voter turnout, could push her votes above 60 per cent.

Speaking after winning the primary, Mrs Chan called for unity in pushing for universal suffrage in 2012.