More than 300 pan-democrats to run in district council polls
The pan-democratic camp expects to field more than 300 candidates in the district council elections at the end of the year, following negotiations among the allies.
Making a united call for universal suffrage to be introduced by 2012, the parties urged the public to vote for them rather than Beijing loyalists, to secure a more democratic future for the city's administration.
Ten democratic political parties and groups announced they would field a total of 282 candidates to contest 272 constituencies, in which 134 candidates would be incumbents. More than 400 constituencies are up for grabs.
Negotiations are continuing for the remaining 10 constituencies, which will see more than one democrat running against another.
Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong, spokesman for Power of Democracy, which co-ordinated the negotiations to avoid pan-democrat candidates clashing in individual constituencies, said the final figure was expected to rise. 'With the ongoing process of discussing with independent candidates who have democratic aspirations, we expect the number of candidates to be over the 300 mark.
'But this year's situation for the democrats is more critical because of the strong competition from Beijing loyalists,' Mr Tsoi said.
To run under the joint banner of the Democratic Coalition for District Council Elections, candidates will have to subscribe either to the universal suffrage proposal by the pan-democrats or one proposed by the League of Social Democrats - both calling for full democracy by 2012.
They would also have to support scrapping all government-appointed seats on district councils.
Preliminary plans by major parties are: Democratic Party, 120 candidates; Civic Party (40); Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (37); League of Social Democrats (30); The Frontier (16).
The number of constituencies being contested by at least 282 pan-democrats: 272