The varied Hong Kong cast battling it out for Election Committee seats

A director and a composer, a travel agency boss running in the religious subsector ... just some of the intriguing contests for places on the body that picks the next chief executive

PUBLISHED : Monday, 14 November, 2016, 7:37pm
UPDATED : Monday, 14 November, 2016, 9:30pm

In a month’s time, more than 246,000 voters will pick the 1,200 members of the Election Committee, which in March will select the city’s chief executive for a five-year term.

Apart from some 300 pan-democratic candidates seeking to expand their influence in many of the body’s 38 subsectors, there are a few surprises and interesting contests ahead:

1. Dogfights in welfare and health services

The social welfare subsector has the most candidates – at least 100 hopefuls, mainly from various factions in the pro-democracy camp, are vying for 60 seats.

But in terms of the ratio between the number of candidates and seats, competition is even more intense in the health services subsector, where at least 87 aspirants – from both the pan-democratic and pro-establishment camps – are fighting for 30 seats. That means there are about three candidates contesting every seat.

2. Directors and composer fighting for seats

Four years ago, veteran comic actor-director Stephen Chow Sing-chi was the most famous person among the performing arts subsector’s 15 representatives.

Chow is not seeking re-election this time, but there are several famous filmmakers joining the race. They include Film Awards Association chair and film director Derek Yee Tung-sing, award-winning composer Peter Kam Pui-tat and screenwriter Felix Chong Man-keung, who won a best screenplay award for his work on crime thriller Overheard 3 last year.

3. Travel agent boss seeking another path

Steve Huen Kwok-chuen, executive director of Hong Kong’s EGL Tours, is a well-known figure in the industry, but instead of running in the tourism subsector he is one of 10 candidates seeking to take up the Confucian Academy’s 10 seats in the religious subsector. There are 10 seats each for followers of the city’s six major religions, including Protestants, Catholics, Muslims and Buddhists.

4. 10 from 33 as Protestant representatives

After previously selecting representatives through internal polls, the Christian Council drew lots last month to give ordinary believers and leaders of smaller churches a chance of being chosen.

A total of 33 candidates were picked, including representatives of churches, charities and denominational bodies. Electoral officials will pick the final 10 from among the 33 by next week.

Additional reporting by Jeffie Lam