CHIEF Secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang is the favourite choice for Hong Kong's first chief executive among Legislative Council election candidates, according to a South China Morning Post survey. Democratic Party chairman Martin Lee, branded subversive by China, came second tied with Chief Justice Sir Ti Liang Yang. Fifteen per cent of respondents supported each man, while 20 per cent backed Mrs Chan, who has just returned from a high-profile visit to her hometown in Anhui. Former senior government official John Chan Cho-chak got 7.8 per cent support, while the other man often tipped as a front-runner for the post, Sir Sze-yuen Chung, got 3.9 per cent. The sixth person named in the questionnaire, Preliminary Working Committee member and former Executive Councillor Lo Tak-shing, got two per cent. However, half the respondents declined to indicate their choice. Of them, 13.7 per cent said the post should be decided by universal suffrage. On the background of the first chief executive, 31 per cent of the respondents said the job should go to a civil servant. Only 11.8 per cent preferred someone with a business background. More than 80 per cent of the candidates said China should appoint members of the Legco, elected next month, to the Preparatory Committee, which will be set up early next year to prepare for the handover. Only 9.8 per cent rejected the suggestion. But candidates were divided on whether government officials should sit on the committee. About 40 per cent said they should, while 47.1 per cent said they should not. Nevertheless, a majority were confident establishment of the committee would not undermine the authority of Legco. On China's plan to set up a provisional legislature to replace Legco in 1997, two-thirds disagreed. Just over 23 per cent agreed. Liberal Party chairman Allen Lee Peng-fei declined to indicate his choice, suggesting only that the move was 'inevitable'. But despite the thumbs down for the proposal, a total of 45.1 per cent said they would accept appointment to the provisional legislature. Just over 47 per cent said they would not. A total of 51 of the 138 candidates responded to the poll.