Five pan-democrats throw in the towel ahead of Hong Kong’s Legislative Council elections

Contenders including Paul Zimmerman and two super seat aspirants will stop campaigning in the hope of deflecting support to fellow pan-democrats

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 September, 2016, 7:56pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 September, 2016, 4:14pm

Five pan-democratic contenders in the Legislative Council elections, including Paul Zimmerman and two super seat aspirants, threw in the towel on Friday evening, in a bid to consolidate votes in the face of fierce competition from the pro-Beijing camp.

Just two days before the Legislative Council election, they stopped campaigning in a bid to boost support for their fellow pan-democrats who were seen as standing a better chance.

The two super seat contenders are Civic Party’s Sumly Chan Yuen-sum, as well as Ho Kai-ming.

Zimmerman gave up on the Hong Kong Island constituency race, as did fellow pan-Democrat Chui Chi-kin, who beat DAB lawmaker Christopher Chung Shu-kun in the district council election last year.

The wave of departures, sparked by Labour Party chairwoman Suzanne Wu Sui-shan, came as polls continue to hint at a possibility of pro-establishment candidates benefiting from the fragmentation of the pan-democrat camp – which has already suffered due to the emergence of localist candidates.

Chan’s departure is seen as a move to provide strong support for Democrat Kwong Chun-yu, who remained neck and neck with pro-establishment candidate Holden Chow Ho-ding, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, according to a large scale poll conducted by the University of Hong Kong’s public opinion programme, which released the result today.

A Civic Party source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed Chan’s move.

Whether pan-democrats can continue to hold more than half of the five super seats – contested by district councillors and voted for by every eligible Hong Kong voter regardless of which district they live in – will be of symbolic meaning to the camp.

But Wu’s quitting the race is less likely to make a difference. The HKU poll showed that the level of support for her was constantly low.

Under electoral rules, no verified candidate can withdraw from the election once the nomination period has ended. It means those candidates can only stop canvassing support while still remaining in the race.