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Popularity of Tang tumbles after scandal

Phila Siu and Eddie Luk

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Henry Tang Ying-yen's popularity has dropped to its lowest level since Chinese University began a poll on chief executive hopefuls.

Tang received a score of only 33.49 out of 100 points in a survey of 1,200 people, who were asked if he is suitable to be the next chief executive. His score last month was 53.63.

The poll was commissioned by Television Broadcasts after the furor surrounding the illegal structures in his family's York Road homes.

Almost 30 percent of the respondents gave Tang a score of zero. He came in last among the five names put forward.

Leung Chun-ying's popularity remains the highest at 57.08, while New People's Party chairwoman and lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee came in second with 46.73 and Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing third with 45.18.


Democratic Party chairman and lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan was fourth with 34.09.

"A number of incidents have dealt a blow to my popularity as reflected in surveys. I accept this blow. I have also openly said that I accept the responsibility for the incidents," Tang said.

He said he hopes the election will be a contest on the candidates' platforms, experience and ability instead of how many scandals people are able to dig up.

Ho said he foresees the public taking their anger onto the streets if Tang insists on running.

"I can already feel this anger in society," Ho said.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Affairs Commission confirmed Tang's candidacy though it reduced the number of his nominations from 379 to 378 as the name on one form was misspelled.

In addition to the tycoons supporting Tang and already widely reported, others include Sino Group chairman Robert Ng Chee-siong, Hopewell Holdings chairman Gordon Wu Ying- sheung, HSBC Asia Pacific chief executive Peter Wong Tung-shun and Sing Tao News Corporation chairman Charles Ho Tsu-kwok.

Heung Yee Kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat, who is also among the nominees, said although all kuk members in the Election Committee had nominated Tang, they have not yet decided whether they will vote for him in the March 25 election. But he added Tang has shown courage by taking part in the election despite the negative reports.

Earlier, Ip said the Article 23 legislation saga eight years ago has taught her to listen to the views of the people.

Ip said as the security chief in 2003, enacting the legislation was part of her duty, but that she realized that "listening to the opinions of citizens should always come first."

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