Pan-democrats rally behind John Tsang in race for Hong Kong's top job

According to the South China Morning Post, Mr John Tsang, a former financial secretary, won 24 nominations from the accountancy sub-sector on Tuesday (Feb 14).
According to the South China Morning Post, Mr John Tsang, a former financial secretary, won 24 nominations from the accountancy sub-sector on Tuesday (Feb 14).PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG • As the formal nomination process for Hong Kong's chief executive election got under way, potential candidate John Tsang finally got his first significant support from pan-democrats, even as front runner Carrie Lam received yet another boost from the rural affairs body, the Heung Yee Kuk.

Another candidate, Mr Woo Kwok Hing, meanwhile, is making an emergency call, saying he had received only three nominations so far.

Candidates need at least 150 nominations from the 1,194-strong Election Committee to run in the election. Each committee member is allowed to nominate one candidate. A candidate will need more than 600 votes to win in the polls on March 26.

According to the South China Morning Post, Mr Tsang, a former financial secretary, won 24 nominations from the accountancy sub-sector on Tuesday.

Mrs Lam, who enjoys support from Beijing, is believed to have corralled between 300 and 400 nominations. The Heung Yee Kuk, which holds 27 seats in the Election Committee, nominated her en bloc on Tuesday.

Mr Tsang has been struggling to seek support from the pro-establishment camp and is expected to be heavily reliant on the pan-democrats, who dominate the committee's professional sub-sectors and have enough votes to send two candidates into the race.

Following a meeting with Mr Tsang, the Democratic Action Accountants, a loose alliance of pan-democrats that is part of Democrats 300+, announced it would hand 17 nominations to him.

"Popularity is an important consideration," group spokesman Lee Suk-yee said. "Hong Kong urgently needs a chief executive who is capable of uniting society.

"When deciding who to nominate, we also think there should be good competition, and we should ensure more candidates fitting the basic requirements can enter the race. It will bring more meaning to the candidate debates."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2017, with the headline 'Pan-democrats rally behind John Tsang in race for HK's top job'. Print Edition | Subscribe