The Democratic Party will meet tomorrow to discuss the possibility of blockading Central district as early as next month, and an Occupy Central organiser has confirmed the civil disobedience movement could happen sooner than expected.
In a statement, Democrats chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said that since the government was expected to release its report this month on the political reform consultation - and Beijing could then make a decision on the reform - Occupy Central could be imminent.
Lau said: "If the local or central governments table a reform package incompatible with international democratic standards … Occupy Central could happen earlier than we expected".
The Occupy Central campaign plans to rally protesters to blockade the Central district if the government does not come up with a satisfactory plan to implement universal suffrage for the 2017 chief executive election.
Stressing that her party would stick to the campaign's plan, Lau said: "We will work with the three Occupy organisers … and get ready to occupy, which could happen this month or next."
Occupy Central organiser Dr Chan Kin-man echoed Lau's view, warning that the campaign could happen in August or September if the local and central governments refused to listen to public opinion.
But Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit expressed reservations about Lau's idea. Leong said the Democrats should focus instead on pushing the Alliance for True Democracy's reform proposal. That plan, under which the public, political parties and the nominating committee could put forward candidates for chief executive in 2017, garnered the most votes - over 330,000 - in last month's unofficial referendum.
The Democratic Party still supports the proposal, but last week announced it would quit the alliance - a grouping of the city's pan-democrat lawmakers - after a row with radicals from People Power and the League of Social Democrats.
"[Lau should] think thrice about whether to quit the alliance," Leong said.
Lau and Leong did agree on one thing: both rejected League chairman "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung's idea that the lawmakers should resign their seats and use the resulting by-elections as another "referendum" on how Hong Kong should introduce universal suffrage.
Leung said such a "referendum" would be more convincing than last month's poll, as the government would be responsible for counting the votes.