With elections for new 'super lawmaker' elections looming in September, pan-democrats are jockeying for position in what could either be an opportunity for co-operation or rivalry in getting nominations.
Lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee called yesterday for co-operation, but rivalry may be more likely.
The five new lawmakers - in the Legislative Council's district councils constituency - will be chosen by more than three million voters. Each candidate must be an elected district councillor and needs to be nominated by 15 other elected - as opposed to appointed - district councillors.
The huge mandate is expected to give the seats special clout and the various pan-democratic parties may contest all five - even though some potential candidates say voting history gives the pan-democrats a realistic chance of winning only three. The five district council functional constituency seats are part of 2010 reforms that added 10 seats to Legco.
The moderate Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL) yesterday signalled an interest in fielding Fung at its party meeting in June. The ADPL has 15 district councillors, including Fung.
The Democratic Party - expected to field two candidates - also has enough district councillors to nominate them. They control a large proportion of the 83 pan-democratic district councillors. But the two other parties that intend to field candidates - the Civic Party and the Neighbourhood and Workers Service Centre - must seek nominations from other pan-democratic groups. They may end up competing for support from the NeoDemocrats, who have eight nominations to dole out.
Fung said yesterday that he wanted the whole pan-democratic camp to sit down and discuss supporting three candidates, to maximise the chances of winning three seats, but had received little response.
'If each party acts according to its own decision and its own interests, the ADPL will have to make decisions just for ourselves, too,' Fung said.
Wong Yun-tat, a Kwai Tsing district councillor with the Neighbourhood and Workers Service Centre, is interested in running and foresees a competition with the Civic Party to win nominations from the NeoDemocrats, since his own group controls only five nominations.
'I understand the Civic Party also wants to field its own candidate and [there is only enough NeoDemocrat support for] one of us to enter the race,' Wong said. 'I will strive for their support.'
Southern district councillor Paul Zimmerman is among the potential candidates from the Civic Party, which has seven district councillors.
Gary Fan Kwok-wai, of the NeoDemocrats, said the group, which would not field its own candidate, had been approached by more than one party for their eight nominations.
'We are discussing with the parties and are doing the evaluation,' said Fan, a Sai Kung district councillor. 'We are considering how to maximise the value of our eight tickets for the greatest good for democratisation.'