The Democratic Party endorsed veteran Central and Western District councillor Kam Nai-wai yesterday as its lead candidate in its uphill fight for a Hong Kong Island seat in September's Legislative Council election.
The decision could make it harder for the party to form a joint ticket with former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang.
Mrs Chan has yet to say whether she will defend her seat.
Speaking after a special meeting of the party's island branch that voted to confirm his candidacy, Mr Kam said the Democrats had decided to field one ticket, with legislator Yeung Sum as his running mate, and would not wait for Mrs Chan.
'It has always been the party's wish to field one team. Whether Mrs Chan should join is something to be seen at a later stage,' Mr Kam said.
Dr Yeung said it was 'unrealistic' for the party to wait for Mrs Chan's decision and that campaign work had to start immediately, before the official nomination period began in mid-July.
Observers believe the best chance for the pan-democrats to win four of the six seats in the constituency would be for Mrs Chan to lead a list, followed by Mr Kam and Dr Yeung, because of her ability to attract votes.
The Civic Party is planning to field one list, led by Tanya Chan Shuk-chong and party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee.
Some Democrats privately believe that if Mrs Chan decides not to run, Mr Kam's prospects could improve because he would stand to absorb some of Mrs Chan's support.
Former legislator Cyd Ho Sau-lan, also planning a comeback, could benefit and gain the last seat under the proportional representation system.