For Tien, odds of hung vote high
There's a one-in-three chance no chief executive candidate will get the required majority when the 1,193 electors vote, says an ally of scandal-hit contender Henry Tang Ying-yen. About 300 swing votes are pivotal to the outcome, Liberal Party honorary chairman James Tien Pei-chun says.
Tien, who nominated Tang, said yesterday that he - though not his party colleagues - was 'almost certain' to cast a blank vote on March 25, considering Tang's low popularity.
'There is a one-in-three chance Tang will win, a one-in-three chance that Leung will win, and a one-in-three chance of an abortive election,' Tien told Commercial Radio.
For there to be a winner, one of the candidates - the others are Leung Chun-ying, a former convenor of the Executive Council, and pan-democrat Albert Ho Chun-yan - needs 601 votes. If there is no winner, the Election Committee will hold a run-off election on May 6.
If that happens, Legislative Council president Tsang Yok-sing would probably win the race, said Tien.
Some 300 pro-government members of the Election Committee did not nominate any candidate, Tien noted.
'Those 300 votes will be decisive,' he said. 'Their decision in favour or Tang or Leung will help either of them win. If they decide not to vote for either of them, most of the votes will certainly be blank.'
Following news of an illegal basement at Tang's family home in Kowloon Tong, Tien warned that the Liberal Party would not vote for Tang if surveys continued to show more than 50 per cent of Hongkongers oppose his candidacy. The Liberals and their allies accounted for 62 of Tang's 390 nominations.
Tien said his party would discuss who to vote for after reviewing the three candidates' performances in televised debates on Friday and next Monday. While a victor could emerge, that person would be unlikely to secure even 700 votes, let alone 800 or more, he said.
'There will be problems for [either Tang or Leung] to govern Hong Kong effectively,' said Tien, who is also a Hong Kong delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
'It is not good to see an abortive election. But May 6 is not far away. If a widely accepted candidate can be elected then, many people may be willing to dedicate themselves to shaping a better Hong Kong.
'I think Tsang Yok-sing is most likely to run and win.'
Tsang, former chairman of what was then the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, ruled out joining the fray last month, but said he might enter the fray if there was a hung election.
Tien, a business leader, said he believed investors would not leave Hong Kong even if Leung, who was not nominated by the city's major property firms, wins. '[Businessmen] are very practical. They just want to make money,' he said.
His younger brother, Michael Tien Puk-sun, vice-chairman of the New People's Party, said his impression of Leung had improved after reading his revised, more concrete policy platforms and discussing his candidacy with business associates.