Hong Kong’s next District Council (DC) election is still more than a year away, but that hasn’t stopped members of both the political camps from starting to gear up for the race.
Among such people is pro-Beijing lawmaker and Executive Councilor Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who is also the chairperson of the New People’s Party.
There has been talk that Ip is eyeing a so-called “Super District Council” seat, i.e. District Council (Second) functional constituency, in the 2020 Legislative Council election. In order to be eligible to run for that seat, she has to become a district councilor first in the 2019 DC election.
By switching to the Legco Super DC seat race, it is said that Ip is hoping to broaden her party’s support base and make up for the lost seat held by Michael Tien Puk-sun, who left the party in April last year.
Ip, as a matter of fact, wanted to run in the by-election for the Peak constituency of the Central and Western District Council in November last year, only to change her mind shortly before the end of the nomination period.
But she is said to have never given up on the idea of running for the DC.
Nevertheless, according to some seasoned members of the pro-establishment camp, even though Ip may be quite appealing to middle and upper class voters due to her professional image, she might run into difficulty in securing her candidacy for the upcoming DC race because almost all of the pro-Beijing strongholds have already been filled by other pro-establishment hopefuls.
Therefore, they said, unless Ip is willing to think the unthinkable and go for other constituencies held by the pan-dems, or twist the arms of the incumbent district councilors of her own party such as Judy Chan and Joey Lee Man-lung and talk them out of seeking re-election, she might not be able to even enter the race at all.
But of course, they added, Ip would still stand a good chance of securing her candidacy in one of the pro-establishment strongholds if Beijing’s liaison office steps in and coordinates the plans.
Meanwhile, while some in the New People’s Party claimed that their chairwoman is still keeping her own counsel over her election plan, Chan, incumbent member of the Southern District Council, has already told the media that she has no intention, at least for now, to give up seeking re-election in the 2019 DC race.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on April 21
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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