Pro-democracy Hong Kong legislator Wu Chi-wai may give up Wong Tai Sin district seat after 20 years

The leader of Hong Kong’s flagship pro-democracy party may not seek re-election in district council polls this year, bringing to an end a five-term winning streak.

According to a source, Wu Chi-wai is considering handing his constituency in King Fu, Wong Tai Sin district, to another veteran democrat, Rosanda Mok Ka-han. Mok switched from the struggling grass-roots organisation the Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood (ADPL) to Wu’s Democratic Party in late 2017.

The move, which would require party approval, would be the latest in a series of strategic switches by high-profile legislators with a seat – or hoping to win a seat – on a local council. District council elections will be held in November.

Wu has won the past five elections in King Fu, starting in 1999. In 2003, 2007 and 2011 he romped home with more than 4,000 votes, while his opponents did not even hit 1,500. But it was a tighter race in 2015, Wu’s first district poll since becoming a legislator in 2012.

Mok is a former four-term Sham Shui Po district councillor. She resigned as chairwoman of the ADPL after it lost its only Legislative Council seat in 2016.

Party sources said Wu wanted to focus on his work as party chairman and lawmaker. He is expected to run in the 2020 Legco election.

Mok was reluctant to speak on the subject, saying she only joined the party about a year ago and still needed time to observe the situation in the district.

“I’m still exploring … and discussing the arrangement [with Wu],” she said.

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Wu said he was “still currently the proposed candidate” in his constituency when coordinating with other democrats.

“I will do my very best in preparing for the election,” he said.

And he was not the only lawmaker tipped to make a move.

New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, whose Legco seat is on Hong Kong Island, could also move up north by contesting a constituency in Tuen Mun, according to sources.

The veteran pro-Beijinger was likely to join forces with party colleague and long-time district councillor So Shiu-shing in the poll, but it was unclear whether Ip would replace So in his Sam Shing constituency or contest the neighbouring and newly established So Kwun Wat seat.

The move was widely seen as a stepping stone towards Ip contesting one of the five “super seats” in the legislature’s functional constituencies, for which candidates must be a district councillor.

So refused to comment, saying only that anything was possible. Both Ip and So, who is already in his 80s, are expected to run.

Ip’s fellow pro-establishment lawmaker Holden Chow Ho-ding was tipped not to run in Islands district’s Tung Chung constituency, which he currently holds. The area has become something of a political hot potato since the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge opened, leading to complaints from residents about an influx of mainland Chinese tourists.

Chow will probably be succeeded by Yip Pui-kei who, like Chow, belongs to the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong.

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