Election Committee support for CY Leung looks bleak

Chief executive could lose backing from vital subsectors should he decide to run again next year

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 2016, 11:35pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 November, 2016, 1:42am

Just over 60 of those who backed Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in 2012 are expected to secure uncontested seats in the 1,200-member committee that will pick Hong Kong’s leader next March.

After nominations for the committee closed on Monday, 286 candidates from 12 subsectors can expect to be returned uncontested next month.

Among those expected to be returned unopposed, 62 nominated Leung in the 2012 chief executive election. And 42 of them are from the agriculture and fisheries subsectors. Most of the other subsectors are business affiliated.

Leading developers and tycoons, including Li Ka-shing and Lee Shau-kee, who had nominated Leung’s former arch-rival Henry Tang Ying-yen in the 2012 race, are likely to secure seats in the committee in the real estate and construction subsector.

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They also sent their children for the committee elections this time and some of them are set to gain seats uncontested.

They include Li Ka-shing’s son, Victor, of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) subsector, and Douglas Woo Chun-kuen, of the real estate and construction subsector, who is a son of retired Wharf Holdings chairman Peter Woo Kwong-ching. The senior Woo is also uncontested this time in the CPPCC subsector. Both the senior Woo and his son Douglas had nominated Tang in the 2012 chief executive election.

Also gaining a seat in the real estate and construction subsector is Adam Kwok kai-fai, son of former Sun Hung Kai Properties co-chairman Thomas Kwok Ping-kwong.

“Leung Chun-ying is set to lose the business-related subsectors in the Election Committee,” City University political academic Dr James Sung Lap-kung said.

“The tycoons were vocal supporters of Tang during the chief executive race last time. And not to mention, those tycoons run various businesses and that in effect allows them votes in other subsectors.”

While Lee Ka-kit, son of Henderson Land boss Lee Shau-kee, will secure a seat in the CPPCC subsector, his brother Lee Ka-shing is also contesting a seat in the hotel subsector.

The Hong Kong Chinese Importers’ and Exporters’ Association, which was the first chamber of commerce that supported Leung in the last election, remained split on whom to back in the March chief executive poll.

Wong Ting-kwong, who represents the association, said it was still too early to say, but acknowledged the work of Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah, who is tipped to be one of Leung’s potential arch-rivals in the coming chief executive election.

“I admire Tsang’s financial philosophy as it is always good to be careful when managing public money,” Wong said.

CY Leung faces uphill poll battle with fewer set to back him in Hong Kong chief executive race

The Election Committee subsectors elections will be held on December 11. The 1,200 members elected next month will come from 38 subsectors representing various trades, professionals, labour and social welfare groups, as well as political bodies.

Members are returned through an election by the voters of each subsector, with the exception of the National People’s Congress (NPC), Legislative Council, and religious subsectors.

The 36 NPC local deputies and 70 lawmakers are ex-officio members and are given seats in the committee. The religious subsector will have 60 members, who are returned by nominations from six designated religious bodies – the Hong Kong Buddhist Association, Hong Kong Taoist Association, Chinese Muslim Cultural and Fraternal Association, Confucian Academy, Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Christian Council.

The Electoral Affairs Commission will announce the number of seats returned unopposed in the next couple of days.