Hong Kong Politics & Protest

Regina Ip hints her party may become less pro-establishment, more centrist after election defeat

Following her failure to be nominated as a candidate in the upcoming chief executive election, Regina Ip has hinted that her political party may become less pro-establishment and more centrist.

The lawmaker and former security chief said on Friday that the New People’s Party would not transform into a pro-democracy group. Party heavyweight Michael Tien, however, said in a separate interview on the same day that he was “unsure” whether he would leave the party.

Ip Lau Suk yee

Regina Ip. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

“After March 26 [election day], our party will reconsider our position,” Ip told RTHK. “Maybe we will need to be more outspoken and more independent.”

When asked by RTHK whether she meant that the New People’s Party would become less pro-establishment, she responded: “maybe yes.”

She also responded affirmatively to the suggestion that her party would become more centrist, but denied that it would shift towards the pro-democratic side. “There are some fundamental differences,” she said.

However, she added that her communication with the pro-democracy camp had improved following her 77-day election campaign.

Michael Tien ‘unsure’ of leaving

Founded in 2011, the pro-establishment New People’s Party currently has three seats in the Legislative Council, held by Ip, Michael Tien and Eunice Yung.

Michael Tien Puk-sun. File Photo: Apple Daily.

In a separate interview with Commercial Radio on Friday, Tien said that he had encountered differences with Ip with regards to acting as an intermediary between Hongkongers and the Chinese government.

Tien said he was unsure whether he would leave the party: “Nobody will know [the difference between] the previous Ms Ip and the future Ms Ip. I have to feel my way through.”

In 2010, Tien had also departed from the pro-business Liberal Party, where his older brother James Tien is honorary chairman, due to differences in views over the minimum wage.

No interest on the national-level

In the RTHK interview, Ip added that she was uninterested in serving at a national-level with the National People’s Congress (NPC) or the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) – China’s legislature and its top political advisory body respectively.

“I’m serving [the country] every day,” she said. “The NPC and the CPPCC… let’s not bother.”

michael tien regina ip eunice yung

Michael Tien, Regina Ip and Eunice Yung. Photo: InMedia.

Ip announced on March 1 that she had failed to receive enough the 150 nominations from the 1,200-member Election Committee required, in order to run officially as a chief executive candidate.

Former chief secretary Carrie Lam is rumoured to be Beijing’s favoured candidate. Former financial secretary John Tsang and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing are also running in the small-circle election scheduled for March 26.

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Regina Ip hints her party may become less pro-establishment, more centrist after election defeat