Higher voter turnout would help “liberals” in Law Society race

Candidates from the “liberal” camp may stand a greater chance of winning a key Law Society election tomorrow if the voter turnout is high, a member familiar with the situation said.

The comment came a day before a key election tomorrow that would decide the Law Society’s fate, as the five longest-serving council members will be replaced by five new ones in the society’s 20-strong governing council.

The fight is between the “liberal” candidates”, who are regarded as pro-democracy; and the “professional” camp, who said they will represent members’ professional interests and stay away from politics.

The member, speaking to The Standard on condition of anonymity, said a majority of the society’s 12,000 members are younger and are more likely to be pro-democracy.

“There are a lot of new members who have been admitted into the Law Society, and the majority of them are younger in terms of their post-qualification experience and their age. Therefore, you already know what ‘color’ camp they belong to,” the member said.

If the society is as pro-government as in the past, then Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor would not have made a warning, according to the member.

Lam earlier warned the government will cut ties with the society if it “lets politics override professionalism”.

While Lam’s remarks was seen as a warning for Law Society members who vote for “liberal” candidates, the member said such members have no intention to back down in exchange for the society’s survival.

“I do not think the voting turnout will be low, as many of my friends, including myself, will be voting. It would be logical to say the higher the turnout rate, the lower chance for the ‘professional’ camp to win,” the member said.

“Some already told me that they are not afraid… even when the Professional Teachers Union had already bowed before the government, it was still forced to shut down,” she added.

Eleven aspirants, including five “professional” candidates, four “liberal” candidates and two “centrist”, are vying for five seats on the society’s governing council.

The society mandates that its chairman be elected among council members, and as incumbent chairwoman, Melissa Kaye Pang, has already held the position for three terms, meaning she must step down after her term ends.

There are currently eight “liberal” members in the council, with two among the five longest-serving members who will be replaced next week.

However, one of the “liberal” members seeking reelection, Jonathan Ross, announced on Saturday that he was withdrawing from the election after being intimidated for running in the election, but the Law Society does not have a withdrawal mechanism for candidates.

That means members would still be able to vote for Ross, and if all five candidates from the “professional” camp lose and all four candidates from the “liberal” camp win, there will then be 10 “liberal” council members, allowing the camp to “tilt the balance” upon gaining support from the centrists.

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