Trade union group wants more Legco seats in 2012
Fanny W. Y. Fung and Ambrose Leung
The Federation of Trade Unions aims to contest five of Legco's 10 new seats and also field candidates in all the geographical constituencies in 2012. Its leader, Cheng Yiu-tong (pictured), may be among those standing.
The 10 new seats are the fruit of electoral reforms passed with the support of moderate pan-democrats. The FTU aims to contest the five created in the legislature's functional constituency for district councils; the other five are in the geographical constituencies.
Cheng, who sits on the Executive Council - the chief executive's cabinet - said members had strong hopes of the federation gaining more legislative power. It has four of the current 60 seats.
Details of the 2012 election have not been agreed by Legco yet. The FTU on Tuesday submitted a proposal to the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau suggesting merging the Kowloon West and Kowloon East constituencies so that there would be four geographical constituencies instead of five.
'With a larger constituency, the percentage of votes required to win a seat will be lower, attracting smaller parties to contest the seat,' Cheng said.
This could benefit prospective contenders from the business sector, he said.
Asked about the new functional constituency seats, he said members had strongly backed the federation fielding candidates for the seats. He said members were also strongly in favour of contesting the Kowloon West constituency since the FTU did not have a seat there.
Cheng said the FTU would consider fielding candidates in all geographical constituencies but it lacked political talent. He had been a lawmaker from 1995 to 1998, and he said some members were in favour of him seeking a return to Legco.
The FTU asked its subsidiary unions to nominate Legco candidates from this month.
Meanwhile, the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood is considering amending its constitution in light of the arguments between pan-democrats over electoral reform.
At a two-day retreat tomorrow, party members are also expected to decide how the ADPL, whose influence is shrinking, will co-operate with mainstream pan-democrats.
'A weak nation has no diplomacy,' said party lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee. 'In the post-constitutional-reform era, it is everybody for themselves amid the shifting balance of power. If we are weak, who will want to talk to us?'
While the ADPL will shelve plans to seek a merger with other parties - there had been suggestions it wanted to merge with the Democratic Party, which also supports the electoral reforms - its leaders do not rule out deepening co-operation with others.
Still, its priority is to gain more influence in next year's district council elections with a view to adding to its current single seat in the legislature.