Leung Chun-ying

Candidates won't quiz each other at forum for electors

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 March, 2012, 12:00am


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The three candidates vying to be the next chief executive will come face to face on Monday in front of those who will decide their fate in the poll just six days later.

But only one in every 100 of the 1,193 Election Committee members will be able to ask a question during the forum, and political observers will not see the kind of head-to-head conflict expected in tomorrow's media debate between the three.

The 21/2-hour session, starting at 7pm, will see about a dozen questions asked by the committee members attending.

The rest of the session will involve questions submitted by the public and an opportunity for each candidate to showcase their platform.

With front runners Leung Chun-ying and Henry Tang Ying-yen both embroiled in controversy, Dr Law Chi-kwong, an elector and one of the organisers, said the forum and opinion polls that followed may be the final determinants of which way undecided electors vote.

Pan-democrat Albert Ho Chun-yan, a rank outsider, will also take part in the forum.

Unlike tomorrow's debate, organised by local broadcasters, Monday's forum will not include a cross-fire section, in which the candidates can directly question each other. 'We're not running it like a [broadcaster's] programme,' Law said.

But the Leung and Tang camps were disappointed to see the crossfire section skipped.

'The current format provides no sparkle,' pro-Tang lawmaker Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung said, while Leung supporter Paul Chan Mo-po said the forum would be 'less exciting' without questions from candidates.

Bernard Chan, another organiser, said the short time to agree on arrangements for the forum made it impossible to set down the rules for a session of head-to-head questioning.

'The whole arrangement was in a rush. We held the first meeting on Monday, then soon after we liaised with campaign officers of the three candidates,' Chan, also an elector, said. The public can submit questions to before Monday, although there will be no seats for the public on the night.

The event will be held at Kitec in Kowloon Bay, and a zone outside the venue will be designated for protests.