He is accused of seeking support before his resignation has been approved Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was accused yesterday of jumping the gun and lobbying for support in his bid to become chief executive before his resignation as chief secretary has been formally accepted by the central government. While Mr Tsang's office denied the claims, his rivals said he had breached election rules. A legislator said he would complain to the ICAC and the election watchdog. Mr Tsang has had contact with a number of Election Committee members over the past week, prompting legislator Chim Pui-chung - one of the three contenders for chief executive - to accuse him of breaking the law. Election laws state that public officials cannot run for chief executive. 'What he did has breached the law, since he has been lobbying for support before the central government accepts his resignation. President Hu Jintao has asked people to identify inadequacies, not ... exploit legal loopholes,' Mr Chim said. Democratic Party chairman Lee Wing-tat, the other prospective candidate, said even if no direct mention was made of voting or nominations, Mr Tsang's actions were, in essence, campaigning. 'Asking people to support him over his policy platform equates to asking people to vote for him. As Hong Kong's likely next leader, he should not break the law while knowing it full well,' Mr Lee said. Mr Tsang's office confirmed he had contacted 'various political parties, including the Liberal Party', recently. 'Mr Tsang has exchanged views over his policy philosophy with various political parties, and hoped to get their support,' it said, while firmly denying any lobbying was involved. A spokesman for the Electoral Affairs Commission said it had not received any formal complaints about any prospective candidates. Legislator Leung Kwok-hung - who has filed complaints to the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Electoral Affairs Commission over election advertisements - said he would file another complaint over Mr Tsang's activities. The row over whether Mr Tsang has jumped the gun intensified yesterday after Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun revealed that several Liberal legislators had met Mr Tsang in the past couple of days to discuss his platform. 'During the meeting, he expressed his intention to run in the chief executive election and asked us to support him,' Mr Tien said. Former lawmaker Eric Li Ka-cheung, an Election Committee member from the accountancy sector, said Mr Tsang phoned him last Thursday to say he 'looked forward to my help in canvassing support in the accountancy sector'. Another Election Committee member, Wong Kwok-kin, chairman of the Federation of Trade Unions, said he received a call from Mr Tsang on Tuesday, 'hoping that I would ... give my backing for him' once his resignation was approved. Several committee members said Mr Tsang's behind-the-scenes strategist, Rafael Hui Si-yan, had been calling heavyweights in several professional sectors since last week to seek help in canvassing support for Mr Tsang.