Tsang closes in on nomination level

Local | Amy Nip 24 Feb 2017

Popular underdog John Tsang Chun-wah has about 130 nominations - making it almost certain he will make it into the chief executive race.

The so-called Beijing choice, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, has already secured some 300 nominations, while retired judge Woo Kwok-hing has 74.

With the nominations deadline looming and her hopes dimming, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee said yesterday she may try to run again in five years.

Each candidate must get at least 150 nominations from the 1,194-strong Election Committee by Wednesday to become an official candidate in the March 26 chief executive election.

In the 2012 race, Leung Chun-ying was the last contender to hand in nominations when he did it six days before the nomination period ended. It was six days before the deadline yesterday, and none of the four CE contenders had handed in their nominations yet.

Still, the picture is getting clearer in the latest unofficial count of nominations for each contender, in what could shape up to be a three-way race.

Accounting Election Committee member Ronald Kung Yiu-fai went to Tsang's campaign office yesterday, taking Tsang's total to about 130 - just 20 short of the minimum.

Democratic Action Accountants also announced yesterday it would give two more nominations to Tsang, and two to Woo. The group earlier gave 17 nominations to Tsang, the former financial secretary.

Ex-chief secretary Lam will wait until next week before handing her nominations in, and announce her complete electoral platform before Wednesday. Lam had been mocked because EC members gave her nominations without even knowing her full platform -- contrary to their earlier pledge to consider candidates' platforms.

Lam met yesterday afternoon with the HKCPPCC (Provincial) Members Association, which has 46 EC members.

Woo and Ip will join an electoral forum organized by the pan-democrats' Power for Democracy tomorrow.

Ip, who has a "double-digit" number of nominations, got one more from accountant Ho Chun-hung. She said Ho's help "in her hour of need" was a big encouragement to her team.

She will announce the second update of her electoral platform today.

In an interview, Ip said the central government made it perfectly clear very early in this election that it felt "insecure."

In the next CE election in 2022, Ip would be 72 years old. But she would not rule out running again, saying Woo, 70, is still energetic.

"When there is an election, there is the chance to win. Of course I would like to keep fighting," she said.

The former security chief mocked Lam, saying the latter acted like herself 10 years ago, when as an official, she always thought she was right.

While Lam had said it was the bureau chief instead of the chief secretary who should be held responsible over a particular policy, Ip said team morale would be bad if a boss refuses to shoulder responsibility.

Meanwhile, "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung was derailed in his bid to be the fifth candidate, after receiving just 5,552 votes in a public nomination, out of a target of 37,790, or 1 percent of the electorate.

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