Date
20 October 2018
John Tsang's speech announcing his candidacy draws likes on Facebook live (inset). Tsang has been criticized for a lean platform. Photo: Reuters, Facebook/John Tsang
John Tsang's speech announcing his candidacy draws likes on Facebook live (inset). Tsang has been criticized for a lean platform. Photo: Reuters, Facebook/John Tsang

John Tsang’s high public support does not ensure his nomination

Former financial secretary John Tsang has finally announced his candidacy for Hong Kong’s top job.

The biggest challenge ahead of him is to win enough votes from the members of the Election Committee to get nominated even though he is clearly favored by the public, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

At a press conference on Thursday, Tsang, 65, used “Trust, Hope, Unity” as his campaign slogan. He said the reason he decided to run is that he wants to help Hong Kong overcome its challenges and renew hope among the people.

Stressing that one of his major goals is to achieve reconciliation in society, he said is confident that his long years of experience in the government make him well qualified.

Several public polls have shown Tsang has the highest support rate among the candidates due to his image of taking the middle path and a mild approach. But the thing is the city’s leader is not chosen through universal suffrage but by the 1,200-member Election Committee.

To be shortlisted, a candidate must first be nominated by the committee by winning at least 150 votes from its members.

Tsang, the last among the most promising candidates to declare his intention to compete, said he has not secured any vote from the committee members since his campaign was just launched.

That suggests he has a lot of catching up to do to make sure he will not be out in the first round of screening.

That should be one major problem Tsang needs to overcome. It was noted that there was no political figure or any member from the committee at his press conference.

Moreover, it is said that a number of Election Committee members have been told to vote for former chief secretary Carrie Lam, putting Tsang at a disadvantage in the competition to win nomination.

An unnamed person from Tsang’s camp was quoted as saying that Tsang, who believes “one country, two systems” is the best framework for Hong Kong, will not mind seeking support from the 300-plus Election Committee members who are from the pan-democratic camp.

One of the members criticized Tsang for offering no beef on the table in terms of his platform, although he undoubtedly holds the edge in public perceptions.

To be sure, Tsang will have at least one vote when the Election Committee begins to vote for nominees on Feb.14. James Tien Pei-chun, honorary chairman of the Liberal Party, said Thursday night that his vote will go to Tsang.

[Chinese version 中文版]

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