Some 1,553 nominations were received by the Registration and Electoral Office for the election of the 1,200-member Election Committee as the nomination period ended yesterday.
More than 170 candidates nominated Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in the 2012 CE election, but currently more than 300 have voiced opposition towards his re-election. There were 102 nominations more than the previous election of 1,451. The Election Committee election will take place on December 11.
Competition is tightest for the health services sector to snatch its 30 seats, with a total of 94 nominations received. Some 30 candidates from the pro- democracy camp calls for opposition toward Leung, while there are at least 40 candidates from their pro- establishment counterparts.
Meanwhile, 57 people will compete for 30 seats in the higher education sector, with a team of university students joining the race for the first time.
Led by former Chinese University student union president Tommy Cheung Sau-yin, the team consists of seven student representatives from universities' senates with the youngest aged 19.
Twenty-nine pro-democracy scholars including Occupy leaders Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Chan Kin-man are also running in the sector.
Their counterparts include four economist professors headed by University of Hong Kong's Richard Wong Yue-chim and 12 scholars from the HiEdu Synergy group which claims to be neutral.
Competition is also tight for the medical sector and the stronghold of Leung - architectural, surveying, planning and landscape sectors, where teams from the pro-democracy camp have joined the race. Some 86 and 92 candidates respectively will fight for the 30-strong sectors in the committee. From the cultural subsector, where all 15 seats were uncontested in the last election, a group of 15 pro-democrats including Wan Chai district councillor Clarisse Yeung Suet-ying will run in the election.
But several sectors are uncontested under coordination, including commercial, finance, import and export agriculture and fisheries sectors, with most nominees coming from the pro- establishment camp.
With pro-democratic professionals and activists forming the "Democrats 300+" alliance hoping to snatch over 300 seats in the committee, political analyst James Sung Lap-kung said pro- democrats are likely to meet that target because more of them joined the race compared with the last election.
But he said a number of separate lists from the pro-democracy camps might lead to fragmentation where votes may be split and could affect election chances.
The 1,200 election committee will be able to vote in the CE election in March. A contender will need at least 150 votes to qualify and 601 to win.