Donald Tsang Yam-kuen is fighting an uphill battle to secure more than 700 nominations to quickly knock out his rivals. Twelve days after announcing his resignation to run for the top post, the former chief secretary is still short of the 700 votes needed to prevent anyone from standing against him. But Mr Tsang, who described nomination as a primary election, remains optimistic. 'I hope I can secure a full victory in the primary election,' Mr Tsang said after an RTHK phone-in programme yesterday. In 2002, former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa was effectively re-elected on the day he submitted his nomination. He secured more than 700 nominations, preventing anyone from securing the 100 required to stand against him. With nominations closing in 10 days, Mr Tsang has stepped up his lobbying with a series of meetings with professional sectors this week. He met the engineering sector yesterday and is scheduled to meet voters from the education, legal and social work sectors. But observers say the number of votes outside Mr Tsang's grasp might reach 100. Nominations of declared challengers Lee Wing-tat and Chim Pui-chung might already total several dozen. Another 30 voters with questionable eligibility, mainly from the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and district councils, have said they may not nominate anyone. Others say they will maintain political neutrality, including at least four civil servants, and Allen Lee Peng-fei - because of his RTHK radio talk show - and Legislative Council president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai. Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, a voter in the higher education sector, said Mr Tsang had set himself a difficult target. He said there was no need for Mr Tsang to eliminate his rivals in such a 'domineering' way. 'He will win ultimately. It is now a process for people to observe his leadership style. There is no need to be so domineering,' he said. Eric Cheung Tat-ming, one of the 20 voters in the legal profession, believed about seven voters in the sector would not back Mr Tsang. He agreed that the chances of Mr Tsang gaining more than 700 votes were less than those of Mr Tung in 2002, mainly because there were more challengers this time and some Election Committee members were not prepared to nominate anyone. Speaking at a Commercial Radio forum, Mr Chim said Mr Tsang should be more humble. If he believed he could get more than Mr Tung's 700-plus votes, he was wrong, he said. Sources said Mr Tsang was likely to start his district visits as early as the middle of this week but details have yet to be finalised. They said he intends to visit each of the five major districts of Hong Kong Island, Kowloon East, Kowloon West, New Territories East and New Territories West.