Anson Chan

Tough fight ahead for democrats on Island

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 July, 2008, 12:00am

Camp could pay high price after Anson Chan's decision, warn analysts

The pro-democracy camp could retain as few as two seats in the Hong Kong Island constituency in the September Legislative Council election following Anson Chan Fang On-sang's decision not to run, political analysts have warned.

They believed Mrs Chan's decision not to stand would signal the end of her political life.

The Beijing-friendly Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) said it was too early to say if it would make gains, while the Liberal Party said it might consider fielding candidates to grab a seat in the constituency.

Six Legislative Council seats will be returned on Hong Kong Island.

At present, four are held by pan-democrats - Martin Lee Chu-ming and Yeung Sum of the Democratic Party, Audrey Eu Yuet-mee of the Civic Party, and Mrs Chan, who is non-affiliated.

Mr Lee has announced he will not seek another term, to make way for the so-called second-generation democrats. The party has decided to field district councillor Kam Nai-wai to run with Dr Yeung under the same ticket. The Beijing-friendly camp has been widely tipped to grab three seats in the constituency.

Political observer Li Pang-kwong of Lingnan University said: 'The worst scenario is that the pan-democrats will lose one more seat to the Liberal Party if it can field a very strong candidate.' He expected another possible candidate, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, could take advantage of Mrs Chan's decision. 'Not all those having voted for Mrs Chan were supporters of pan-democrats. Some might turn to support Mrs Ip or her ticket.'

Mrs Ip, the former security secretary, is reportedly considering a joint ticket with Medical Association vice-president Louis Shih Tai-cho in the constituency. Mrs Ip could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung, of Chinese University, said Mrs Chan's departure could bring new chances for the second-tier democrats such as Cyd Ho Sau-lan or Lo Wing-lok.

Ma Ngok, a political analyst at Chinese University, said: 'The Anson Chan factor will not be very significant. Her political influence is fading. Even if she stood in the election, she might not win.'

DAB chairman Tam Yiu-chung said: 'It is too early to predict the election results without Mrs Chan. We shall do our best to win as many seats as possible.'

Sources close to Mrs Chan have said that she was disillusioned with legislative work because officials had snubbed lawmakers on policy issues.

Nominations for the election will run from July 19 to August 1 and polling day is on September 7. Sixty members will be returned, 30 by geographical constituencies and 30 by functional constituencies.