Party chief fears too many tickets will work against pan-democrats

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 May, 2008, 12:00am

The pan-democrats might miss their goal of winning four seats in the Hong Kong Island constituency if they field more than two lists of candidates in September's legislative election, Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said yesterday.

Speaking a day after Democratic Party vice-chairman Sin Chung-kai announced his intention to drop out of the Legislative Council election, Ms Eu said it would be difficult to ensure votes were distributed effectively and not wasted. Mr Sin plans to support party member Kam Nai-wai for a seat on the island, where the pan-democrats currently hold two seats.

Ms Eu is expected to run with rising Civic Party star Tanya Chan Shuk-chong on a separate list.

'It is logical to have only two lists if we want to win four seats,' Ms Eu said. 'If we end up having three lists, then we would be lucky if we can win three seats.'

Her concerns echo fears already raised by some observers that if former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang runs as an independent while the Democratic Party fields Mr Kam on a separate list, Mrs Chan's voter appeal could draw support away from Mr Kam.

The democratic camp is expecting strong competition from Tsang Yok-sing, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, and former security chief Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee.

And voter support for its mainstream members might be diluted by radical pan-democrats from the League of Social Democrats.

The Democratic Party said a joint ticket combining Mrs Chan and Mr Kam was still possible. Their strengths would complement each other and make the best use of the camp's support.

Under the proportional representation system, candidates need 16 per cent of the vote to secure a seat in the six-seat island constituency.

The rest of the seats are allocated to the candidates on the lists that win most votes.

Ms Eu admitted there were still outstanding issues - such as potential differences in their election platforms - to be resolved before Mrs Chan and Mr Kam could consider running on a joint ticket.

She also said it would be difficult for the Civic Party to campaign for Mrs Chan, as it did during December's by-election, because the party's foremost responsibility was towards its own members.

Mr Sin said yesterday that the option of Mr Kam teaming up with Mrs Chan remained viable.

'I believe the possibility of Mrs Chan and Mr Kam running on a joint ticket does exist. And the possibility of Mr Kam in second place on the list is higher,' he said on the RTHK phone-in programme Talkabout.

But he said Mrs Chan had yet to say whether she would stand, and if the answer was 'yes', whether she would have a running mate.

'We hope Mrs Chan's stardom, as well as the party's district network and canvassing machinery, will help secure two seats,' he said.

He also dismissed suggestions that he could still form a joint ticket with Mrs Chan.

'If Mrs Chan invites any party member to form a ticket, we hope it would be Mr Kam. He is the party's only hope on Hong Kong Island. Our message is very clear,' he said.