The real question now with regard to Hong Kong’s 2017 chief executive election is not how the leader will be chosen, but who will make the grade.
The game has already begun prior to a final discussion on the electoral reform package, which will be put to a vote in the Legislative Council next week and is likely to be vetoed by pan-democrats.
Because there is no perfect man for the top job, we just pray that the system gives equal opportunity to potential candidates. At the end of the day, we can only hope that the “small circle” 1200-member election committee will pick the best, or in the worst case, the least unpopular contenders.
Against this backdrop, the latest Now TV poll offers a glimpse of the political realty just before the universal suffrage bill is put to vote.
There are some interesting findings in the poll, which failed to catch the attention of the mainstream media. Though the findings are not something we didn’t know before, they still make us reflect on the personal dynamics of the potential candidates.
First, the poll suggests that if there were five candidates in the fray, only one will get through in the first round.
Now TV interviewed 100 election committee members and asked them to pick at least two candidates from five pre-selected contenders, namely incumbent CE Leung Chun-ying, former financial secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung, legislator Regina Ip Lau Shuk-yee, and two democrats — Alan Leong Kah-kit and Frederick Fung Kin-kee.
About 80 percent of the members responded to Now TV’s request and identified their preferred choices through anonymous voting. Of those 80 members, three-quarters were considered to be pro-establishment.
As one would expect, Antony Leung secured 52 percent votes, higher than Regina Ip (48 percent) and CY Leung (46 percent).
In other words, CY is the least popular candidate for the pro-establishment camp.
Just like CY and Regina, the two pan-democrats also didn’t make it in the first round of selection, as expected. The pan-democrats were, in fact, way below of the 50 percent qualifying threshold.
Frederick Fung secured 36 percent vote, while Alan Leong fared worse with 29 percent. Fung’s higher rating is probably he is not as stubborn as Leong in the eyes of most election committee members.
The results show that if there only two or three candidates in the final race in 2017, as has been proposed by Beijing, it is likely that democrats would be kept outside the fray.
Even if someone from the camp manages to qualify through an unforeseen development, the chance of him winning the top job is slim.
Now, let us see if we can come up with some exciting match-ups.
From the financial circles, we see Antony Leung having to win over potential rival candidate Norman Chan Tak-lam.
Chan, the current chief of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, on Tuesday dodged a question regarding his possible ambitions for the city’s top job. His reticence, when confronted by a reporter in Toronto, was probably because CY was also there in the visiting delegation to Canada.
From the eyes of Beijing, we also see a tough fight between CY and Regina, with their chances depending on who is perceived to be the lesser of two evils.
Finally for democrats, it would be fun if Civic Party lawyer Alan Leong fights fellow lawyer Ronny Tong Ka-wah, the dissident party member who launched the “Path of Democracy” think-tank earlier this week.
Meanwhile, forgive us for not picking Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor or John Tsang Chun-wah.
The reason we kept the chief secretary and the financial secretary out of the running for the top job is because we wish them happy retirement in 2017.
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