My Take

DAB playing with fire as it considers bid to field a candidate to be the next chief executive

Even if Hong Kong’s dominant party could find a person capable of assuming the top job, it would only increase political tensions in the city

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 March, 2016, 12:50am
UPDATED : Monday, 14 March, 2016, 12:50am

It’s curious why the DAB is doing the equivalent of a political striptease to showcase its fundamental weakness. The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong may be the largest political party in terms of the number of seats its members occupy in the legislative and district councils. But it does not have a single leader who looks remotely the part of the chief executive.

Yet strangely, the Beijing-loyalist DAB’s Chan Kam-lam and Leung Che-cheung have separately suggested that it needs to field a chief executive candidate in the next election. But who?

Starry Lee Wai-king, its chairwoman, is a pleasant enough personality. That’s how she managed to become both a legislative and executive council member – by avoiding stepping on anyone’s toe. But she is almost universally considered a political lightweight.

Her deputy, Holden Chow Ho-ding, just lost the Legco by-election last month. A win may have given him a political platform. Now he has nothing to show for it.

Former chairman Tam Yiu-chung may have a little more gravitas but has no broad appeal whatsoever, especially to the crucial business and banking community.

The only one who may conceivably serve as a chief executive candidate is Legco President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, a founding member of the DAB and its former chief. He has implacable leftist credentials, enjoys a degree of public respect and is recognisable. But his tenure as Legco president has coincided with the rise of endless filibustering and other delaying tactics by pan-democratic lawmakers against government bills.

Both the government and Beijing seem to think he has been too lenient and soft, thereby tacitly becoming an enabler of the pan-democrats’ antics in Legco. In any case, Tsang seemed sincere when he said in the past he wasn’t interested in the top job.

Leung argues tensions between the government and the legislature would ease if a member of the DAB, the dominant party in Legco, was chief executive.

The opposite would be the case, as the pan-democats would go on an all-out war against the government and the city’s largest loyalist party.

The DAB may be good at bringing out the elderly to vote for its candidates in local elections. But the chief executive post is a wholly different ball game.