Chief executive candidate Woo Kwok-hing has expressed disappointment after the majority of pro-democracy electors who have expressed a voting preference said on Monday night that they plan to vote for John Tsang.
Former judge Woo said he will nevertheless continue his campaign and aim to receive votes from all political camps.
The Democrats 300+ – an electoral alliance of pro-democracy electors – holds over 300 of the 1,200 total votes in the small-circle election. After a team meeting on Monday night, pro-democracy lawmaker Kenneth Leung said there was a “98 per cent consensus” among electors who have expressed a preference to vote for former financial secretary Tsang.
Woo expressed his disappointment in a media statement shortly afterwards.
“I feel very disappointed that the Democrats 300+ electors intend to support a candidate who accepts political reform under the ‘831 framework,’ will not enact Basic Law Article 22 to protect One Country Two Systems, and does not support a universal pension plan,” he said.
Tsang said in February that Hong Kong cannot ignore Beijing’s “831 framework,” which was laid down in 2014 to vet future chief executive candidates through a nomination committee.
Only Woo has pledged to enact local legislation in support of Article 22 of Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, which prohibits the Chinese government from intervening in the city’s internal affairs.
Lawmaker Charles Mok from the Democrats 300+ team did not directly answer a reporter’s question about whether Woo was being sacrificed for Tsang. “It is hard to say we are sacrificing anyone, but I suppose the public’s wish should be respected.”
Tsang has already received some support from pro-establishment camp electors, such as those from the pro-business Liberal Party. He is considered by some pro-democracy activists as a “lesser evil” to former chief secretary Carrie Lam, widely rumoured to be Beijing’s favoured candidate.
Nevertheless, the Democrats 300+ team has said that it will not force its electors to vote for former financial secretary Tsang.
“The election is held by secret ballot,” said Woo on Monday. “I deeply believe that electors will vote according to their consciences.”
The small-circle election will take place on Sunday morning.