Legislative Council president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, who is seen as a hot favourite to take a seat on the National People's Congress Standing Committee, is openly supporting former justice secretary Elsie Leung Oi-sie as an ideal candidate for that post.
Mrs Fan, a local deputy to the NPC, has been tipped to succeed veteran Beijing loyalist Tsang Hin-chi as a member of the NPC Standing Committee when the 11th session of the congress opens next March.
In response to media reports that the central government now supports Miss Leung for the position, Mrs Fan supported that idea. Miss Leung became a deputy in 1993 and therefore was very familiar with the NPC's work, Mrs Fan said.
'She possesses a professional legal knowledge of both the mainland and Hong Kong,' she said. 'Since the major function of the NPC is to legislate, I believe Elsie Leung is a suitable candidate.'
As the two women are also good friends, Mrs Fan said she was also personally supportive of Miss Leung. 'I think it is good for her to have further opportunities to serve the country,' Mrs Fan said.
She would not compare her chances to those of Miss Leung but said she was planning to seek re-election as an NPC delegate in next January's election.
Mr Tsang said earlier that he would retire from the Standing Committee and would not seek re-election as a delegate.
The Legco president also dismissed rumours that she might be appointed as a standing committee member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which serves as the nation's top advisory body.
'If I am elected as an NPC delegate, I will not be appointed to the CPPCC since the two bodies are of different systems,' Mrs Fan said.