League feels left out over district polls

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 January, 2007, 12:00am

Pan-democratic groups have yet to come up with a system for resolving clashes in discussions to co-ordinate efforts in the next district council elections.

Several proposals, such as having an independent arbitrator, drawing lots or choosing according to seniority had been considered and rejected, said League of Social Democrats member Bacon Liu Sair-ching, who represented the league in the discussion meetings. Co-ordination efforts were headed by Power for Democracy.

The district council elections will be held at the end of the year.

League lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip said his party was fielding 20 to 30 new candidates, and there had been clashes in 60 to 70 per cent of these cases.

He said the league may not strictly abide by the agreement not to challenge incumbents. 'What if the incumbent was doing a really bad job, or one of those people who are on the fence about democracy?' Mr Chan asked. 'If we are just protecting incumbents, no matter what, then we're no different from the pro-government parties.'

Mr Liu said setting up a complaints system against incumbents had been suggested and rejected.

The league felt it was being treated unfairly. 'We know we're just a new party and we don't mind sending candidates to be cannon fodder ... but there are seats we feel we could win and we're not being given a fair chance,' he said.

Certain league members who had long done district work under legislators were being treated on a par with newcomers from other parties.

Civic Party executive committee member Kenneth Chan Ka-lok said: 'I think the uncertainty is acceptable at this stage because each district is different and we are still having a rational discussion about the co-ordination.' Clashes would probably have to be resolved by closely examining conflicts on a district-by-district basis.

Albert Chan said the league would still take part in the discussions but was prepared to act independently if no consensus was reached.