Pan-democrats work on strategy

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 September, 2009, 12:00am

Pan-democrats yesterday conducted their first cross-party deliberations on how to increase the pressure on the administration for a road map to universal suffrage this year, stressing their united front was the first major development.

The meeting appeared to enable individuals to clear the air over past grievances within the camp. Participants had described the meeting as 'heated' but also 'frank and honest', independent lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan, the convenor, said.

League of Social Democrats member Leung Kwok-hung said: 'The fact that we are all standing here before you is already huge progress if you think about our position in July, when none of us had come up with a plan.' Throughout the summer, different pan-democratic parties and groups have suggested various strategies on how to respond to the anticipated consultation on political reform later this year.

Should the consultation lack plans for universal suffrage in 2017 and 2020, pan-democrats have threatened to vote down the reform package.

But they have so far been unable to agree on how to develop a constructive strategy that might successfully achieve a road map to full democracy, rather than merely vote down an unsatisfactory model.

The League of Social Democrats, Civic Party and the chairman of the Democratic Party, Albert Ho Chun-yan, have all made suggestions, but each proposal was met with scepticism from other pan-democrats, who complained they had not been consulted.

Yesterday, Cyd Ho said pan-democrats had now decided to ask for a meeting with Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen to further impress upon him their demands.

They will also organise a forum in mid-October to gather more views from other groups. A working group will also be set up, with representatives from pan-democratic groups.

So far, the proposal to trigger a de facto referendum on universal suffrage by having five pan-democratic lawmakers step down from each geographical constituency has gained the most momentum as a viable strategy to respond to a consultation that lacks plans for universal suffrage.

Both the Civic Party and the league have made similar proposals, while the Democratic Party cannot commit to those proposals unless its members are consulted next month.

Cyd Ho said the working group had not ruled out any of the proposed strategies.

Unionist lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan said that although no concrete plan had yet been finalised, 'together, we can declare the fight for universal suffrage begins'.

Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee had previously voiced reservations about the mass resignation plan.

He was infuriated when the Civic Party suggested that he should be one of those who should quit, but said the fact he had now been invited to discussions was an excellent start.