Pan-democrats consider bids for chief executive
Major parties under the pan-democratic umbrella are discreetly vying to field their own candidates to run in the next chief executive race.
Any bid is guaranteed to fail, given the nature of the poll. But the parties are attracted by the 'Alan Leong effect', that is, the widespread publicity and political capital to be earned by any contender, as shown by the Civic Party's Alan Leong Kah-kit in his 2007 bid against Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.
The Democratic Party and the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL) are both considering fielding candidates for chief executive next year.
'We think we should clearly take up the role as the dragon head in 2012,' Democrats' vice-chairman Sin Chung-kai said. 'In 2007 we stood behind and supported the Civic Party. But this time we think our role should change.'
At a meeting convened by the Democrats' constitutional affairs group on Saturday, the majority of the 30-odd members there agreed that the party should participate.
The political reality is that any contender not blessed by Beijing would not win in the election in which the 1,200-strong Election Committee will vote.
But Sin said: 'The main consideration is to push forward Hong Kong's democracy campaign. Last time the Civic Party didn't combine the election with the democracy campaign. If we run, we will reach out to the public, ask citizens to sign and tell us what they want to see in the chief executive's platform.
'We also think we should collaborate with other pan-democrats on the matter. Perhaps a primary election within the camp can be held.'
The party will hold a general meeting to decide on whether to field a candidate in July or August.
The ADPL will hold its first meeting to discuss the chief executive election on Saturday. Although the party has yet to come up with a stance, former chairman Frederick Fung Kin-kee said he was thinking about running. 'In the previous election there wasn't a mechanism to choose Alan Leong,' he said. 'This time we still have to discuss how to come up with a candidate, but it will be difficult. How do you define the pan-democratic camp?'
'[League of Social Democrats founder] Wong Yuk-man says we're not pan-democrats. On the other hand, there are also many resident groups supporting democracy. Should they be included in the talk?'
Although Leong got only 123 votes from Election Committee members, far short of Tsang's 649, a senior pan-democrats member said the popularity he and the Civic Party gained had made parties reluctant to again back another party's candidate.