Basic Law

Democrats risk being marginalised after alliance pushes on with campaign

But analyst says alliance will remain divided after it decides to push on with 2017 campaign

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 May, 2014, 11:21pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 May, 2014, 7:43am

The Democratic Party may be marginalised after the Alliance for True Democracy, a grouping of 26 lawmakers, decided yesterday not to stop campaigning for the 2017 chief executive election.

The Democrats had decided last week to not take part in the alliance's meetings next month in protest at actions by radicals.

Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a political scientist at Chinese University, believed the Democratic Party would be placed in a more difficult position after leaving the alliance, given that its close ally the Labour Party - which also has reservations about radical groups - decided to stay.

"The impact [of the Democrats leaving] on the alliance will not be as big as people imagined," he said. "The political spectrum within the alliance is too wide. The rift will remain no matter whether the Democratic Party stays or not."

But a Democrat source said they were confident they would not be marginalised. "It is meaningless to stay in an alliance which has no trust," the source said. "It is our own choice to quit. There are still lots of parties that we can work with in fighting for democracy."

After a 90-minute meeting of members yesterday, alliance convenor Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek said: "The absence of the Democratic Party … will be a severe loss on our part … We certainly hope we can continue to cooperate in other ways."

Although he had earlier suggested ceasing the alliance's operation after Occupy Central activists hold a public vote from June 20-22 - where the public will be invited to pick its most preferred reform plan out of three proposals - Cheng said disbanding the alliance was not on yesterday's agenda.

"All our constituent groups declared that they would continue to try their very best to promote our proposal on the chief executive election and the election of the legislature," he said.

The rift within the pan-democratic camp has escalated since Occupy Central's "deliberation day" on May 6, when its 2,500 supporters shortlisted three reform plans for the unofficial plebiscite next month. All three call for the public to be given the right to nominate candidates for the 2017 election, a demand Beijing has consistently rejected.

Members of People Power and the League of Social Democrats had reneged on promises to support the alliance's proposal and called on their supporters to back People Power's own reform plan instead.