Civic Party called to lead pan-democrats

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am

The Civic Party could soon emerge as the leader of the pan-democratic camp, the Democratic Party's Martin Lee Chu-ming said yesterday.

'It would not be surprising and the Democratic Party absolutely accepts this,' he said on an RTHK programme. 'We and the Civic Party are brothers and sisters. The rise of the Civic Party is good for democratic development.'

Mr Lee announced on Thursday that he would not be contesting September's Legislative Council election.

He said yesterday that he agreed with analysts who argued that the democratic camp would improve its chances in the poll if it fielded two tickets on Hong Kong Island.

One could list independent Anson Chan Fang On-sang and Central and Western District councillor Kam Nai-wai, while the other would be led by Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee.

Mr Lee said this would maximise the democracy camp's chances but it would be up to the party to decide whether it wanted to work with Mrs Chan.

The retiring legislator, seen as the backbone of the democratic camp, said he did not regard himself as indispensable.

'The camp is very weak if it only relies on a 70-year-old,' he said. 'If they believe I have such an important role they should think about why this person is indispensable.'

Mr Lee said party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan and Ms Eu were capable of taking on the democratic mantle.

Colleague Szeto Wah agreed, saying the democratic movement should not only rely on one single person.

Frederick Fung Kin-kee, former chairman of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, said he would not mind the Civic Party taking the lead, provided parties across the camp reached consensus on democratic development.

Liberal Party chairman James Tien Pei-chun said the party's vice-chairwoman, Miriam Lau Kin-yee, was interested in joining the race on Hong Kong Island.

But Mr Lee's decision to quit would not affect his party's election preparations as it would mainly be concentrating on the New Territories.