Democrats groom hopefuls ahead of 2016 Legco poll

Democrats begin preparations for next Legco election with goal of winning back lost seats

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 12 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 12 September, 2013, 5:23am

The Democrats are already gearing up for the 2016 Legislative Council election, sending potential candidates for training courses and giving out monthly cash subsidies to equip them for their climb up the political ladder.

The Democratic Party, aiming to reclaim the seats it lost in last year's polls, has shortlisted eight potential candidates three years ahead of the next election.

And it has adopted several measures to groom them, including organising courses taught by scholars on democracy theories and policies, and giving out a HK$5,000 cash subsidy to each aspiring candidate every month.

The potential candidates have also been appointed as the party's vice-spokesmen for different policies in order to make them more visible to the public.

But party vice-chairman Lo Kin-hei, one of the eight potential candidates shortlisted, said a cash subsidy was not what he needed most from the party at the moment.

"HK$5,000 is not a small sum of money, but neither is it big - it couldn't cover the cost for an additional staff member, which I really need," he said. "Perhaps exposure is more important to me at this point."

To raise the aspiring candidates' public profiles, Lo and the seven other hopefuls will attend City Forum, RTHK's live-broadcast public affairs programme, at Victoria Park every Sunday.

They are Au Nok-hin and Henry Chai Man-hon for Hong Kong Island; Andrew Wan Siu-kin, Josephine Chan Shu-ying and Roy Kwong Chun-yu for New Territories West; Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong and Lam Cheuk-ting for New Territories East; and Lo for the "super seat" constituency.

All are district councillors, except for Tsoi, the party's vice-chairman who lost his seat at last year's polls, and Lam, who is the party's chief executive.

The party, which once dominated the pan-democratic camp with eight seats in Legco, lost two seats in the last election.

Meanwhile, the pro-Beijing Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong would focus on the 2015 district polls to build a solid foundation for the 2016 Legco election, one hopeful said.

"The party has allocated no extra resources for us to prepare for Legco, as the DAB's line-up very much depends on who will win in the 2015 district council election," said Holden Chow Ho-ding, Young DAB chairman and an Islands district councillor.