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As the District Council election comes to a close, a potential list of candidates for another election has emerged. “Super district councillor” seats in the Legislative Council (LegCo) will be up for grabs next year as several of the incumbents have either lost or retired.

A super district councillor is a lawmaker of the District Council (Second) Functional Constituency. Candidates of the seat must be district councillors, and nominated by 15 other district councillors. There are five super district councillor seats – or “super seats”, as they are commonly called.

Of the five incumbent super district councillors, four of them have joined the election. Starry Lee Wai-king of the pro-Beijing DAB Party and James To Kun-sun of the Democratic Party have won, but Albert Ho Chun-yan of the Democratic Party and Frederick Fung Kin-kee of the pro-democracy ADPL Party have lost.

It is very likely Starry Lee and James To will seek re-election next year through the  super seats, and there will be three empty seats to fill.

Wong Kwok-hing (second left). Photo: GovHK.
Wong Kwok-hing (second left). Photo: GovHK.

The super seats, in the functional constituency, could bring important controlling power to the pro-democracy camp as many of the functional constituency seats are uncontested or are easily won by the pro-Beijing camp. Functional constituencies are made up of professional or special interest groups such as legal entities, corporations or individuals.

Pro-Beijing camp

Wong Kwok-hing of the pro-Beijing Federation of Trade Unions Party was widely rumoured to run for the seat left by Chan Yuen-han, his party colleague, who decided not to run in the District Council election and thus gave up her super seat. Wong did not comment as to whether he will run for a “super” seat after winning a District Council seat.

The pro-Beijing parties fielded three candidates during the 2012 LegCo election and may do the same in 2016, thus one more candidacy could be now available. Holden Chow Ho-ding of the DAB Party is a rumoured choice. Chow won in the Tung Chung South constituency in the Islands District.

In the 2012 election, Pamela Peck Wan-kam ran as an independent candidate for a “super” seat. In Sunday’s District Council election, Peck did not run due to illness and was replaced by her husband lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun. Paul Tse has said that he did not intend to run for a super seat and hoped instead to run for the Kowloon East constituency, after winning as a district councillor.

Lo Kin-hei
Lo Kin-hei. Photo: Facebook/Lo Kin Hei.

Pro-democracy camp

While possible candidates have been lined up for the pro-Beijing camp, the pro-democracy side does not seem to have a solid plan yet, as Albert Ho and Frederick Fung were both in tight races on Sunday and did not know they had lost until the last moment.

Democratic Party vice-chairman Lo Kin-hei was rumoured to be a choice. If the ADPL Party wishes to retake Fung’s seat, vice-chairman Tam Kwok-kiu may also be in the running for the seat, according to Oriental Daily.

As the Neo Democrats Party has won 15 seats, they can also nominate a candidate. But lawmaker Gary Fan Kwok-wai has publicly said he was against the existence of super seats.

Meanwhile, Civic Party lawmaker Kenneth Chan Ka-lok, who has shown interest in a super seat, lost in the District Council election.

The LegCo election is likely to be held in September 2016.

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.