Insiders urge Civic Party to reform ahead of reshuffle

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 October, 2008, 12:00am

The Civic Party is under pressure to review its direction ahead of a leadership reshuffle in December, with calls for reform building following its performance in last month's Legco election.

Despite leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee's assurance that its commitment to district affairs and grass-roots issues would not change, sources said two disillusioned core members who lost in the election might quit the party leadership.

At a soul-searching session on Sunday, party leaders debated the need to reposition the party on various political and livelihood issues, in view of the electoral setback.

Of the 19 candidates the party fielded in the election, only five won, reducing its number of seats in the legislature from six.

Sources said party executive committee member Mandy Tam Heung-man, a former lawmaker who lost her accounting sector seat, and party vice-chairman Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, who failed to win a directly elected seat after deciding not to defend his seat in the social services sector, were considering leaving the leadership.

A party source said the pair felt disillusioned with the leadership because it had failed to broaden its appeal in the districts.

They were also unhappy with the views of some within the party who felt the two non-barristers had only been brought in to give the party broader appeal. The five remaining lawmakers were all barristers,

'It seems the party lacks direction. Where does it want to go? It has failed to live up to the public expectations it gathered during the chief executive election,' the source said.

While saying he had not yet started to consider whether to run again for the vice-chairmanship, Mr Cheung said the party had limited time to decide on its future direction ahead of December, when members would vote for a new leadership.

'I have long been focused on helping the underprivileged and development in civil society. While I focused on livelihood issues, the rest of the barristers were strong on constitutional affairs. I hope the party will not be biased,' he said.

Ms Tam said she was considering not running for a seat on the party's executive committee because she wanted to focus on district work.

'More chances should be given to the young aspirants who want to be in the centre of the party,' she said.

Ms Eu said that while the party would continue its review, 'its general direction on increasing resources in the districts and absorbing more members will not change'.