Election hopefuls plan to make a flying start to the campaign season when nominations open for September's Legislative Council election today.
Among the first to register will be Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong candidates contesting the five so-called super seats created under recent electoral reforms.
The party will run two slates, one led by Executive Council member Starry Lee Wai-king, the other comprising only one candidate, her fellow lawmaker Lau Kong-wah. Their likely rivals include Albert Ho Chun-yan and James To Kun-sun at the head of two Democratic Party lists, Frederick Fung Kin-kee of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL) and a three-candidate ticket led by former Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Chan Yuen-han.
More than three million voters citywide will be eligible to cast ballots for the 'super seats' in the district councils functional constituency. Other candidates are expected to register later.
Ho said he would campaign largely in the New Territories, while To would concentrate on Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and North District.
Under the reforms passed two years ago, the new Legco will comprise 70 lawmakers, up from 60 at present, with five new legislators representing geographical constituencies as well as the 'super lawmakers'.
In New Territories West, with nine seats at stake, former medical sector lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki and Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, who is moving from the Hong Kong Island seat, will register on a Civic Party slate today.
Also expected to register as a candidate is Michael Tien Puk-sun, vice-chairman of the New People's Party and ADPL chairman Bruce Liu Sing-lee, with Tuen Mun district councillor Yim Tin-sang as his running mate.
In New Territories East, Liberal Party honorary chairman James Tien Pei-chun will join deputy chairwoman Selina Chow Liang Shuk-yee and two colleagues to register today.
Incumbent Ronny Tong Ka-wah of the Civic Party will declare his candidacy in Sha Tin this morning and hand in his nomination next week.
In Kowloon East, incumbent DAB lawmaker Chan Kam-lam, who is seeking another term, admitted that his party would 'try its best to help' tourism-sector lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun in his bid to win direct election there.
On Hong Kong Island, Liberal Party chairwoman Miriam Lau Kin-yee will lead a three-candidate ticket to register today. New People's Party chairwoman and former security minister Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee will seek to defend her seat.
Other hopefuls include a three-candidate ticket formed by activists of People Power and the website HK Reporter.com, while Dr Lo Wing-lok will run as an independent.
People Power chairman Lau Ka- hung will be joined by party member Dr Au Yeung Ying-kit as well as Shiu Yeuk-yuen, from HK reporter.com.
In the functional constituencies, the Liberal Party's Tommy Cheung Yu-yan will try to defend his catering-sector seat while his party colleague Felix Chung Kwok-pan will contest the textiles and garment sector.
The number of people without a vote in other functional constituencies who can cast ballots for the 'super seats'