Pan-democrats consider kicking out the radicals
Moderate pan-democrats will this week discuss cutting links with radicals in the camp in a bid to regain lost ground ahead of next year's Legislative Council election.
The talks come in the wake of the heavy defeats suffered by the Democratic Party and Civic Party in last weekend's district council elections. Moderates said voters were tired of infighting in the camp and critical of the culture of violence that radicals had brought into politics.
Radical pan-democrat lawmaker Wong Yuk-man, of People Power, said it was ridiculous to discuss such a move, as the radicals had already parted from the moderates after the Democratic Party backed the government's electoral reforms last year.
Confederation of Trade Unions lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan - who also suffered defeat last Sunday - said the election results showed voters wanted the pan-democrats to fight for democracy by peaceful and rational means.
Speaking on a radio programme yesterday, Lee called on the pan-democrats to repair relations and unite to prepare for next year's Legco election.
Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan said he had no intention of ruling out co-operation with those sharing goals on universal suffrage, but said co-operation should be based on mutual respect.
'We think the essential conditions of co-operation should include no more abuse, insults or irrational personal attacks on others,' said Ho, who faced a challenge from People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip in a Tuen Mun constituency.
However, Wong likened the moderates' move to 'digging their own graves' on the road to democracy. He said the moderates were shirking responsibility for their defeats.
'What do you mean by attacking allies?' Wong said. 'Are you saying that any criticism is not allowed? If so, what's the difference between you and the Communist Party?' He also denied the accusation that the radicals had brought violence into politics.
This year's district council elections saw People Power fielding 62 candidates; of these, 45 stood in constituencies where they challenged candidates of the Democratic Party or the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood. The radicals said the move was to punish the moderates for supporting the government's electoral reforms.
People Power won only one seat, while the League of Social Democrats failed to win a seat.
The Democratic Party won 47 seats, compared with 59 in the previous poll in 2007, while the Civic Party lost five of the 12 seats it held before the election.