Frederick Fung quits after poll failure by ADPL

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2007, 12:00am

Party chairman takes responsibility for flop in the district elections

The chairman of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood (ADPL), Frederick Fung Kin-kee, resigned yesterday following the party's failure in Sunday's district council elections.

Mr Fung, who had held the chairmanship for 18 years, said the failure had been worse than the Legislative Council election in 1998 when the party failed to win any seats.

On Sunday, of the party's 37 candidates, only 17 were elected, down from 25 elected in 2003. The party lost three seats on both Sham Shui Po and Yau Tsim Mong district councils, and two more in Tuen Mun.

At a press conference yesterday, Mr Fung apologised for the failure, saying the defeat was a devastating blow for the party. He was uncertain if he would take part in next year's Legislative Council election.

'Being the ADPL's head, I have to take responsibility for this,' he said, adding that there was an even heavier responsibility this time than the Legco defeat in 1998. He said that the failure was the saddest blow he had experienced since he entered politics.

The ADPL's success rate dropped from 67.6 per cent in 2003 to 45.9 per cent on Sunday. Mr Fung said the result was disappointing not only because the eight incumbents lost their seats, but because the party's supporters had deserted it this time.

'Some supporters changed their mind. They didn't vote for us. We don't understand why they changed,' he said, adding that the party's traditional strategies had failed to adjust to meet the latest political situation.

Mr Fung rejected a request by party members to stay on as chairman, saying he had held the post for nearly two decades and 'Fung Kin-kee's era' was over.

The party's influence was at its highest in 1995 when it had four legislators and 28 district councillors. It encountered its toughest times in 1998, when apart from having no candidates elected at the Legco election, its number of district councillors dropped to 14.

Speaking at the party's 20th anniversary last year, Mr Fung said he would step down if it failed to retain all 25 seats in this year's district council polls.

Deputy chairman Bruce Liu Sing-lee will lead the party temporarily in the next few months until a new chairman is elected at the annual meeting early next year.

A core group of five led by Mr Fung will work on a new direction for the party and investigate the reasons behind Sunday's defeat. A brief will be produced by this group in three to four months.

Mr Fung added: 'The ADPL is not dead, not coming to the end, not falling down. It just needs to review, and needs time to re-establish itself.'

Pan-democrats should search for solutions, asking themselves who the party's votes had gone to, and why.

Mr Liu said a general meeting would be held to review the elections with party members, and some scholars may be invited to work with the core group to look into the election defeat.

Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political commentator at Chinese University, said Mr Fung's resignation was a political gesture and may not help the party to come up with new ideas.