Jeffrey Lam and Miriam Lau may contest fight for chairman A power struggle is brewing in the Liberal Party, with members from different factions supporting two lawmakers to run for chairman. The jostling for position between Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung and Miriam Lau Kin-yee comes as the party has decided to create an honorary chairmanship - paving the way for former chairman James Tien Pei-chun to maintain a formal connection with the party. After a meeting of the party's executive committee yesterday, Ms Lau, who has been acting chairwoman since Mr Tien resigned earlier this month to assume responsibility for his and the party's defeat in the Legislative Council election, said the nomination period for a new leader would begin as early as October 8. If there is only one candidate-team for the positions of chairman, two vice-chairmen and treasurer by the end of the nomination period on October 23, the party will endorse the list the next day. Should there be more than one list, the new leadership would be decided by a postal ballot lasting for two weeks. Party rules require that any nomination must be supported by at least two of the party's six lawmakers and about 100 members. Mr Lam had initially received firm backing from party lawmakers when he announced he would run as chairman. But it is rumoured that his support has been shaken because he kept a low profile over the issue of appointing an honorary chairman and whether the party should continue to run in direct elections. All of its candidates were defeated in the geographical polls. A source close to the party leadership said Ms Lau's advantage over Mr Lam was her image of being impartial and her willingness to stand up to pressure, reflected by her clear-cut remarks in recent weeks on the party's support of universal suffrage. 'While Jeffrey is undoubtedly very skilful politically and has good business connections, pressure from big property developers and Beijing might prove too heavy for him,' the source said. Last night Mr Lam said discussions about who would be chairman were still going on, and he said he had 'good working relations' with Ms Lau. Asked whether she was eyeing the position, Ms Lau replied: 'I will have to listen to party members' views.' While the party's rank and file is split between the two camps, plus some who have dissenting views on the candidates for vice-chairmen, most agreed that the three positions should be filled by legislators through negotiation rather than election. During yesterday's meeting, member David Lie Tai-chong - who was earlier accused of staging a coup to steer the party towards conservative business interests by opposing the prospect of Mr Tien becoming honorary chairman - voted against the decision to create such a post, a decision passed by 11 to 6. 'James Tien has said he would retire from politics but now, if he is installed as honorary chairman, the public would have a perception that our party has no credibility and has lied,' Mr Lie said. It could take months for the party to study amending its constitution to create this post. Mr Tien, whose candidacy was not discussed in the meeting, could not be contacted last night.