Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan says she is appalled that her party colleague Paul Zimmerman is gathering nominations in an attempt to take her on for a Legislative Council seat.
Zimmerman says his first choice is to run for one of the five so-called 'super seats' which will be elected for the first time by a citywide ballot of the 3.2 million voters who cannot vote in any other functional constituency. But problems in securing the 15 nominations he needs from district councillors have led him to look instead at taking on his own party in the Hong Kong Island geographical seat.
Chan is vulnerable to a split in the party's vote because she is second on the ticket behind former party chairman Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok.
'We have been trying to help him seek nominations for the functional constituency [super] seat, and tried to invite him to join our Island list, but he has rejected [it],' Tanya Chan said.
Zimmerman said his late decision to join the election would not damage his relationship with the party. 'Tanya and I have been good friends,' the Dutch-born Southern district councillor said.
'Now she may be a bit nervous because of the campaign.'
He said party leaders would canvass for nominations from other pan-democrats - including the NeoDemocrats, a breakaway group from the Democratic Party that holds eight seats on district councils. The Democratic Party, which is fielding two lists in the super-seat race led by heavyweight lawmakers James To Kun-sun and party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, would not be approached.
Zimmerman is expected to make his decision early next week.
Another pan-democrat, Frederick Fung Kin-kee, of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL), also plans to run for the super seat and said it was not clear if he would be the main casualty if Zimmerman joined the race. But he said it would reflect a lack of unity and co-operation among pan-democrats if the camp failed to co-ordinate three teams for the new constituency.
The Beijing-loyalist camp has fielded three slates while independent Pamela Peck Wan-kam has also signed up.
On the third day of the nomination period, which runs until the end of this month, five tickets were nominated for the geographical constituencies - including ADPL vice-chairman Tam Kwok-kiu in Kowloon West and Democratic Party incumbent Lee Wing-tat, who will seek re-election in New Territories West.
The Federation of Trade Unions' Wong Kwok-hing will team up with labour sector lawmaker Pan Pey-chyou to fight the Hong Kong Island constituency.