Former lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee said he withdrew his name as a back-up candidate for a seat in the upcoming Legislative Council by-elections as he does not want to see the pan-democratic camp become divided and lose a key battle because of him.
Fung told a radio program Tuesday that he made the decision himself to pull out as a second-choice candidate for the Kowloon West seat.
The withdrawal was simply for the sake of ensuring unity and harmony in the pro-democracy camp, said Fung, an ex-lawmaker from the Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood.
Edward Yiu Chung-yim, former lawmaker from the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape functional constituency, who was disqualified along with three other pro-democracy lawmakers last July, won the Kowloon West primary in a Jan. 14 vote, after he decided to switch his constituency.
Fung and the Democratic Party’s Ramon Yuen Hoi-man, a Sham Shui Po District Council member, came second and third, respectively.
As there is a chance that Yiu may be barred from being a candidate as some speculate, Fung, based on the set mechanism, would take Yiu’s place and run for the Kowloon West seat for the pan-democratic camp if that happens.
However, Fung announced on Monday that he decided he will not be the Plan B choice.
He revealed during the radio program that some in the camp have been against him being the back-up since the primaries ended.
One person even told him that there will be another candidate from that person’s circle if Fung becomes the candidate, Fung said, without naming the person.
Fung worried that if there are two pan-democratic candidates, they will both lose the by-election to Vincent Cheng Wing-shun from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, who has been chosen to represent the pro-establishment camp in the March 11 contest.
Calling Fung’s decision a blow to the public’s confidence in the primaries mechanism of the pan-democratic camp, Yuen, who has now advanced to the second choice from the third, said he is still gathering opinions to decide whether he should follow Fung’s steps.
He said he will have to evaluate his winning chances as a candidate if he plans to go ahead.
Professor Joseph Yu-shek Cheng, a political scientist and co-founder of Power for Democracy, the entity that coordinated the Jan. 14 primary contests for the pan-democrats, said the group is not inclined to change the candidate selection mechanism, and that it will support Yuen if he is willing to be the Plan B choice.
Meanwhile, lawmaker Eddie Chu Hoi-dick admitted he has met with several representatives of the pan-democratic camp and Yiu last Wednesday but claimed he has never tried to talk Fung out of running.
While the conclusion after the meeting is to support the mechanism for primaries, he said finding a fourth choice outside the primaries mechanism could be explored as Plan D.
That said, Chu stressed that he will still support Fung or Yuen if one of them ends up replacing Yiu.
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