Glut of parties will make governing harder, academic says

PUBLISHED : Monday, 31 January, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 31 January, 2011, 12:00am

The rise of new political parties is likely to make governing more difficult, a political scientist said.

Li Pang-kwong, director of the public governance programme at Lingnan University, said on the City Forum programme that in future the government would face more difficulties in lobbying support for its policies in the Legislative Council.

'Too many parties in the Legco could easily cause a deadlock between the executive branch and the legislature,' he said.

But Li said the rise of new parties meant voters had more choice.

'The big parties might need to cater to the interests of different social classes, and then ignore the voices of minorities. Voters might be able to find a political party which can represent them better and speak for them in future.'

As there will be elections for district councils and Legco over the next two years, Li said the new parties would find more opportunities to contest their differences.

Voter's Power, formed by lawmakers Wong Yuk-man and Albert Chan Wai-yip after they quit the League of Social Democrats last week, plans to field 200 candidates to contest the district council elections in November.

Jo Lee Wai-yee, of Voter's Power, said yesterday that the group had a clear manifesto, which was to target the Democratic Party and other pro-establishment parties because they voted for the government's election reforms last year.

Thirty reformists in the Democratic Party resigned in December and formed the NeoDemocrats.

Speaking at the same forum, Gary Fan Kwok-wai, convenor of the NeoDemocrats, said they formed the group because the leaders of the Democratic Party had betrayed the people and slowed progress towards universal suffrage.

The NeoDemocrats plan to field about 10 candidates in the district council elections. Pan-democrat unionists Lee Cheuk-yan, Leung Yiu-chung and Cyd Ho Sau-lan are also rumoured to be considering the launch of a labour party.

Meanwhile, lawmaker Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, the former secretary for security, said her New People's Party planned to field 10 candidates in the district council elections.

'We saw the shortcomings of a lack of party organisation during the election campaign, that's why we started looking at forming a political party,' Ip said on a talk show yesterday. She was referring to a district council by-election last year in Pok Fu Lam won by Paul Zimmerman.

The party's vice-chairman, Michael Tien Puk-sun, is widely tipped to run for a seat in the New Territories West in the Legco election next year.

Directly-elected district councillors will gain more influence as they can nominate candidates - or be nominated - to contest in the five new 'super-lawmaker' seats in the Legco elections.

They can also run for seats in the sub-sector of the Election Committee, which would allow them to elect the chief executive next year.

More seats allocated to the geographical constituencies in the Legco elections mean candidates require fewer votes to win a seat.