Donald Tsang

Let's find a solution on suffrage: Alan Leong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 July, 2007, 12:00am

Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was offered an olive branch yesterday by Alan Leong Kah-kit to open dialogue, just days after the chief executive election challenger watched Mr Tsang sworn in as the city's leader.

Despite their heated rivalry - on the campaign trail and in sales of their election memoirs - Mr Leong, of the Civic Party, said the pan-democrats were willing to negotiate with Mr Tsang to find a universal suffrage proposal acceptable to both sides.

'When I shook [Mr Tsang's] hand after the election on March 25, I told him not to forget about what the people had entrusted him to do and use that to do good for them and for Hong Kong,' Mr Leong said. 'He said: 'I shall'.

'On July 1, I also wished him well. I do hope he can lead Hong Kong out of the present difficulties and Hong Kong will become the Hong Kong the people want.'

A conciliatory Mr Leong also called for people to give Mr Tsang time to deliver his election promises.

'We can put behind us all these unnecessary arguments about whether or not we should have universal suffrage, or whether those who are advocating universal suffrage do not love the country and misunderstand 'one country, two systems',' he said.

'But if he does not live up to his own words and reconsider the administration's approach to policymaking, the shortcomings will come back to haunt him.'

Mr Leong called for dialogue between Mr Tsang and the pan-democrats, saying there should be fresh interaction between the two sides, especially when the green paper on constitutional reform is due to be released soon.

'[The] universal suffrage [issue] is draining Hong Kong. I hope after the green paper is published, we can put our heads together and work out something we can all accept so these arguments can be put behind us,' Mr Leong said.

'Both sides should shoulder responsibility for this polarised situation. Although Donald Tsang thinks the democratic camp is unchangeable and intentionally opposes him, some people in the camp also have prejudices. What is most important is for each side to be able to reflect.'

Pointing out that Mr Tsang still appeared to be adopting a divide-and-rule tactic by making friendly gestures towards the Democratic Party while snubbing the Civic Party, he denied the change of tone amounted to declaring a ceasefire.

'If [Mr Tsang] feels it is meaningful for interaction, let him propose how to do so. But I have no incentive to beg for an audience.'

While some observers said Mr Leong had taken a much lower profile after the chief executive election, the legislator said he was merely spending time to write his memoir, Behind the Pocketchief, which went on sale last month. 'I tried to show people the other side of my campaign in the book, which I consider an important record of Hong Kong's democratic history.'

Mr Leong was also finalising the preparation of his new interactive website,, which is expected to be operating later this week.

'I also hope this website will be a platform for the public to discuss the reform green paper.'