Hong Kong’s largest pro-Beijing party says most members back Carrie Lam in leadership race

DAB chairwoman Starry Lee Wai-king also defended remarks calling out John Tsang on fiscal reserves

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 11:42am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 12:36pm

The largest pro-Beijing party in Hong Kong has said that most of its members back chief executive hopeful Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, while also defending the move by two vice-chairs to throw their weight behind her election campaign.

Lawmaker Starry Lee Wai-king, who is also the chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), made the remarks on a Commercial Radio programme on Wednesday morning, but added the party has yet to decide if all members must support the same candidate when casting their votes for the city’s next leader.

Lee defended the move by two vice-chairmen of the party – Brave Chan Yung and Horace Cheung Kwok-kwan – to openly join Lam’s campaign.

“The personal preferences of party members should be respected,” she said.

“But I, as the chairwoman, would not side with anyone’s campaign before the decision of the party’s central committee, to avoid giving an image that DAB has already endorsed a candidate.”

Lee admitted a majority of the party’s 100-plus members on the 1,194-strong Election Committee supported Lam, but they would still meet all four candidates to get to know them before backing their final choice in March.

She also expressed doubts over the suggestion that party members should nominate a candidate just to buy him or her entry into the race and expand the candidate pool for competition, while voting for a different candidate when it came down to the election.

Her comments came after the party launched a veiled attack on Tuesday against another front runner in the leadership race, John Tsang Chun-wah, for consistently underestimating fiscal reserves when he was the financial secretary.

On Wednesday, Lee refuted the suggestion that her party was attacking Tsang, stressing that he had to bear the responsibility of the miscalculation and that the party would direct such questions to him as a candidate.

Lee added she hoped that the future leader would also review local legislation to crack down on advocates of Hong Kong independence.

New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee and retired High Court judge Woo Kwok-hing are also campaigning for the top job.