Civic Party 'plans to zero in' on district work
New lawmaker promises to spend at least 10 hours each week meeting local residents
The Civic Party is to step up its work at grass-roots level, says newly elected lawmaker Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok, and he has resolved to roll up his sleeves in his own constituency of Hong Kong Island.
Chan pledged to bolster the "visibility" of the six-year-old party in local communities, while also warning it would be hard for his group to work with Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.
Chan, an associate professor of government and international studies at Baptist University, promised to spend at least 10 hours a week meeting local residents to "set an example" for his colleagues.
The party has been criticised in the past for not making enough efforts in its district work.
"During the campaign, I came across so many well-meaning supporters telling me that it would be important for the Civic Party to enhance its visibility at the district level because there's a need for the party to provide services such as legal advice or town planning advice."
The Civic Party needed to strengthen its network at district level, Chan said. In last year's district council elections, the Civic Party fielded 41 candidates, but won only seven seats.
Following that failure, the party decided on an election strategy in the September 9 ballot, which saw two of its star members losing their seats - including Kenneth Chan's ballot partner, Tanya Chan.
The district works of the Civic Party, whose members are mainly professionals and intellectuals, do not compare with parties like the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and the Democratic Party because of its lack of resources.
Former Civic Party lawmakers Audrey Eu Yuet-mee and Tanya Chan had offices in Wah Fu Estate and Shau Kei Wan, respectively.
Although the party now has only one seat and the Wah Fu office will be closed, Kenneth Chan pledged to try to open more offices than his predecessors, with legal sector colleague Dennis Kwok Wing-hang.
"The entire Civic Party is committed to and devoted to district work … Dennis and I will open a joint office in Southern District, more specifically South Horizons," Chan said.
"Another office may be in Central and Western District."
He will also "inherit" the office in Shau Kei Wan, and recruit district activists to serve on local communities.
Besides joining with Kwok at the district level, the duo will work together in Legco on environmental issues.
Chan won his seat in Hong Kong Island with more than 70,000 votes, topping the ballot in the geographical constituency.