Some candidates in today's election for local deputies to the National People's Congress have said the poll is unfair and being manipulated by Beijing.
Of the 52 aspirants - mostly Beijing loyalists as well as community and business leaders jockeying for 36 seats - 23 are incumbents, most of whom are expected to be returned.
Rumours were circulating yesterday that about 40 candidates, including four alternates who would fill the seats in case of mid-term vacancies, had been recommended by the central government's liaison office to some of the 1,620 electors.
"As I am not on the 'blessed' list, I will certainly lose," Simon Shi Kai-biu, former president of the Hong Kong Small and Medium Business Association, said.
"I couldn't even get hold of a contact list of the electors so as to liaise with all of them."
He said only those "blessed" by the authorities were likely to win, like Li Yinquan, vice-president of the China Merchants Group, and Herman Hu Shao-ming, chairman of Ryoden Development and of the City University council. Shi declined to name who at the liaison office told him he was not on the list.
Ambrose Lau Hon-chuen, the spokesman for the electorate's presidium, earlier said he had not seen any winners' list.
Fong King-lok, one of the two pan-democrats running, said he would not go into the polling station at the Convention and Exhibition Centre but would protest outside. "The poll lacks representativeness as it is a very small-circle election; electors have to choose by block vote; and most Hongkongers are deprived of taking part … I will definitely lose," he said.
Each voter must pick 36 candidates on the ballot.