The interests of the city must be paramount for the Election Committee

Candidates should quickly make themselves known to let the people know what they stand for

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 December, 2016, 12:27am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 December, 2016, 10:48am

The curtain for the chief executive race has been formally raised following the establishment of the Election Committee yesterday after Sunday’s vote for committee members. The record 46 per cent turnout in the polls has helped the pan-democrats secure 326 of the committee’s 1,200 seats, the highest number for the camp ever and giving them a stronger influence in the process of choosing the city’s new leader. But more political heavyweights may yet come forward, with Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor reconsidering her position and Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah resigning yesterday. The contest is heating up.

The high turnout suggests the politically charged atmosphere that followed the Occupy protests and the rejection of the universal suffrage deal two years ago still remains; and that people’s aspiration for democracy has not been dampened by the failed reform. This is also reflected in the better-than-expected performance of the pan-democrats. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s decision not to seek re-election has apparently not had much effect on those running on the so-called ABC platforms – Anyone But CY. With more than a quarter of the seats in the voting panel, the pan-democrats are expected to wield stronger influence on the choice of candidates and their platforms. The finance chief yesterday resigned, as expected, suggesting he was undeterred by heavyweights like Carrie Lam and executive councillor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee.

Pan-democrats have tough choices to make ahead of chief executive vote

But their establishment background means it would not be easy for them to win support from the pan-democratic camp. Understandably, the pan-democrats would want to support a like-minded candidate. But the reality is that the city is in need of a leader who can heal the social divide and be able to play the role of a bridge between Beijing and the city. It is important that the camp take into account the overall interest of Hong Kong when deciding whom to support.

Leung’s decision not to stand has provided the opportunity for a new start under a new leader. Now that the committee is formed, the hopefuls can better gauge their chance of winning in light of the alignments in the committee. Reassessment from Beijing is also possible given the latest situation. We urge the aspirants to come forward as soon as possible so that the public can see for themselves their visions and platforms. Hopefully, there will be competition and committee members can reflect the public’s views when deciding whom to support.