New blood due in Legco 'super seat' fight
The pan-democratic and the pro-government camps are expected to inject new blood into what could be the fiercest battle in September's Legislative Council election.
Both sides are desperate to win the so-called fifth seat of the five new seats created in the district council functional constituency under reforms that take effect this year.
With each camp likely to win two of the seats according to the usual close balance between them in direct elections, both will be campaigning hard to secure the remaining slot.
Andrew Wan Siu-kin, a Democratic Party district councillor in Kwai Tsing who signalled interest in running for the seat, said: 'The race is on the last seat. If pan-democrats want to win three according to the traditional 6:4 ratio, we should field young blood to compete for that.'
Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the party was also considering fielding a new face.
The five new legislators, to be chosen by more than three million voters, are already being dubbed 'super-lawmakers' given the large mandate they will wield from the city-wide poll.
All candidates - five at most for each list - must be elected, as opposed to appointed, district councillors nominated by 15 other elected councillors.
The pro-government camp also looks set to field second-tier hopefuls in the hope of winning a third seat.
Other than the Federation of Trade Unions heavyweight Chan Yuen-han, and DAB lawmaker Lau Kong-wah, the DAB is also likely to send vice-chairman Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan for the third list.
'We have decided to field two candidates but are still analysing whether to field two incumbents or include a new face to maximise the winning chance,' Tam said.
Pan-democrat veteran Frederick Fung Kin-kee, of the Association of Democracy and People's Livelihood, has called on the camp to send three candidate lists to optimise the chances of securing three seats.
Wan, 42, said he was lining up young party members to help run the campaign. 'My slate of candidates would consist of district councillors in their 20s and 30s to give a feeling of hope to voters,' Wan said. 'Supporters have told us they would not want to see the same old faces for 20 years.'
But Wan, one of the party's two likely choices along with current Legco member James To Kun-sun, said that he could be ditched at the last minute, given the interest from other pan-democratic parties.
Civic Party district councillor Paul Zimmerman, another hotly tipped name, will speak to reporters about the super seat race today. But a party insider said it was unlikely he would run, particularly as he would first need to give up his Dutch nationality.
The pan-democrats will meet today for an initial discussion over candidate lists for the crucial battle.