Infighting in both the pan-democratic and Beijing-loyalist camps bubbled to the surface as candidates for the Kowloon East constituency squared off in a one-hour televised debate last night.
Pan-democrat rivals accused Democratic Party hopeful Wu Chi-wai of being a "pseudo pan-democrat" as the debate turned to the party's support for a package of electoral reforms in 2010, while a unionist lawmaker said a fellow Beijing loyalist was jeopardising his chances of re-election.
The pan-democrats among the nine slates contesting the seat in next month's Legislative Council poll traded the sharper blows. People Power candidate Wong Yeung-tat said of Wu: "The fact the Democrats agreed the political reform proposal in 2010 is evidence he is a pseudo pan-democrat".
Most pan-democrats opposed the reform package because it did not offer a route road map to universal suffrage. The Democrats supported it after the government agreed to create five "super seats", elected by voters who could not vote in any other functional constituency. Wu said the reforms represented progress "even if it is a small step".
Andrew To Kwan-hang of the League of Social Democrats turned his fire on the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong incumbent Chan Kam-lam, whom he said was "an accessory" in helping the rich deprive the poor.
Beijing loyalists normally keep their differences private, but Federation of Trade Unions incumbent Wong Kwok-kin accused Paul Tse Wai-chun, who is giving up his tourism sector seat to fight Kowloon East, of putting his chances of re-election at risk, despite the fact the constituency will have five lawmakers rather than four due to the reforms.
Chan denied he was co-ordinating his campaign with Tse.