Talk of lawmaker and chairwoman of the New People’s Party Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee eyeing the District Council (Second) functional constituency or the so-called Super District Council seat in the 2020 Legislative Council election has been raging in political circles recently.
In order to be eligible to run for that seat, Ip must become a district councilor first. However, it appears she is currently having difficulty trying to secure her candidacy for the 2019 District Council (DC) election, as she is still said to be desperately looking for a constituency where she can run.
It is said that after having carefully assessed Ip’s past performances and image, the New People’s Party believes Ip would have the best odds of winning in the relatively “wealthier” Central and Western District Council as well as the Southern District Council.
In particular, the party is confident that its chairperson would stand a pretty good chance in the Peak constituency of the Central and Western DC or the Bays Area constituency of the Southern DC, where voters are predominantly rich.
However, the problem is, both the Peak and the Bays Area constituencies have remained strongholds for the Liberal Party over the years, and the seats are currently held by two of the party’s promising young stalwarts: Jeremy Young Chit-on and Fergus Fung Se-goun.
Especially, the Bays Area seat in the Southern District Council has remained firmly in the hands of the Liberal Party since 1994.
When asked about the matter, Ip confirmed that she is interested in running for the Legco Super DC seat, and that while she is yet to decide on where to run, she said she has recently approached Liberal Party chairman and lawmaker Tommy Cheung Yu-yan to find out if there is any room for cooperation between his and her parties in the upcoming DC election.
In his response to our enquiry, Cheung also stressed that she and the Liberal Party are on good terms with each other.
Nevertheless, some in the Liberal Party are actually pretty surprised by talk about Ip’s bid to run against their incumbents in the Peak and Bays Area constituencies.
Notably, some Liberals have serious doubts as to whether Ip really has what it takes to challenge their party’s supremacy in these two constituencies.
As they have pointed out, voters are smart these days, and can always tell whether a candidate is truly and sincerely dedicated to serving them or is just trying to use the DC seat as a stepping stone to Super District Council seat.
As such, Ip won’t necessarily have a definite advantage over the Liberal incumbents in the race even though she might be a well-known public figure, they added.
Meanwhile, it is said that, apart from Ip herself, the New People’s Party is planning to field another 30 members, mostly in the regions of New Territories East, New Territories West and Hong Kong Island, to run in the 2019 DC election, and is hopeful of a chance to score their first-ever victory in the Kowloon West region.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on May 23
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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