Former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's chance of becoming a vice-chairman of the mainland's top advisory body appears to be diminishing, according to a local delegate to the national legislature.
Tsang's retirement prospects have dimmed after the election of his predecessor, Tung Chee-hwa - to the presidium of the body of electors that will choose the 36 local delegates to the National People's Congress on December 19.
Michael Tien Puk-sun, an NPC deputy seeking re-election, said Tung's election to the 19-member presidium of the 1,620 electors made it less likely that Tung would run as an NPC delegate. The first chief executive of Hong Kong is already one of the 26 vice-chairmen of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Tung's seat on the presidium made it more likely he would stay as a CPPCC vice-chairman, leaving little apparent room for Tsang's ascension.
It had been speculated that Tung would seek election as a delegate to the NPC and become a vice-chairman of the legislature's Standing Committee.
"I don't think Tung will contest an NPC delegate seat," Tien said. While there was no rule banning those on the presidium from running, "it could be a mismatch for his status [as a CPPCC vice-chairman]".
Thus, he probably would not become a vice-chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, "and I think it is correct to suggest that Tsang has a slimmer chance" of becoming a CPPCC vice-chairman next year". Tien said he was not sure whether the CPPCC would add a new vice-chairman post for Tsang, as has also been speculated.
Standing Committee member Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai said that as Tung was now in the presidium, "I believe the chance that he will contest [the local NPC election] is very slim".
But she said she was unaware of rumours that Tsang would become a CPPCC vice-chairman and had no idea if this would happen.
More than 40 aspirants for the 36 local NPC seats were canvassing for support at the Convention and Exhibition Centre yesterday during a briefing for 1,274 electors by Standing Committee vice-chairman Li Jianguo .
They included former security minister Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong, Nameson Group chairman Wong Ting-chung and Hong Kong Chinese Importers' and Exporters' Association vice-president Cheung Ming-man. Zhang Tiefu, director-general of the social affairs department at the central government's liaison office, as well as Li Yinquan, vice-president of the China Merchants Group, were also among those seeking support. Nominations will run from tomorrow to December 4.