Radicals willing to force election
League of Social Democrats' hopefuls say that if elected to the Legislative Council they will resign mid-term if the government presses ahead with national security legislation or an undemocratic package for universal suffrage.
The group, which has only one seat in Legco after a split with Wong Yuk-man and Albert Chan Wai-yip, yesterday announced its line-up for the September 9 election. Four candidates will contest four of the five geographical constituencies.
'We don't regret having resigned [to force by-elections] in 2010. If needed, we are willing to contribute to prompt a de-facto referendum [again],' said league chairman and lawmaker 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung. 'If elected we are prepared to vacate our four seats. But we can't work alone as we can only have seats in four geographical constituencies at most.'
In 2010, five legislators, including Leung, resigned to force by-elections in all five geographical constituencies in what they called a de-facto referendum on universal suffrage.
The move prompted the government to propose a change in the law, which was passed this year. This ruled that from the upcoming Legco term, lawmakers who resign mid-term are forbidden to run again for six months, but their colleagues and allies can still run.
Leung said the lawmakers did not rule out resigning to force by-elections should Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's administration propose the national security legislation under Article 23 of the Basic Law and undemocratic electoral methods for the 2017 chief executive race.
While incumbent Leung will seek re-election in New Territories East, former league chairman Andrew To Kwan-hang will contest Kowloon East again.
League member Tsang Kin-shing, who was defeated in his 2008 bid in Hong Kong Island constituency, will run in New Territories West this year. League vice-chairman Avery Ng Man-yuen will make his debut run on Hong Kong Island.
League activist Raphael Wong Ho-ming said he had dropped the idea of running in Kowloon West as he needed more rest after recovering from a collapsed lung.
Meanwhile, Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan and lawmaker James To Kun-sun yesterday each signed up to lead a three-candidate ticket to contest the district council functional constituency seats, or so-called super seats.
Democratic Party vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said she would spearhead a four-candidate ticket to seek re-election in New Territories East - where a possible legal challenge to the electoral law has been signalled.
Sai Kung district councillor Raymond Ho Man-kit signed up as an independent candidate with a running mate whose foreign nationality is expected to lead to her rejection by the electoral office.
Belinda Lloyd, a permanent resident with British nationality, said that if she was rejected, she would consider legal action such as a judicial review and filing of an election petition after the September 9 polls.
The Registration and Electoral Office said the returning officer would decide the validity of Lloyd's nomination 'as soon as practicable'.
Liberal Party catering-sector incumbent Tommy Cheung Yu-yan also signed up for his re-election bid yesterday, with pledges to oppose legalising standard working hours or any increase to the hourly HK$28-minimum wage level.
Cheung was unperturbed by the possibility of facing a challenge from Simon Wong Ka-wo, president of the Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades. Also declaring a candidacy yesterday was Professional Commons vice-chairman Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong, a pan-democrat seeking the accountancy seat.