Democratic Party out of touch, lawmaker says

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 September, 2012, 12:48pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 20 September, 2012, 1:51am

 The Democratic Party’s setback during this month’s legislative election shows that it was out of touch with Hongkongers, an outgoing veteran legislator said on Wednesday morning.

Cheung Man-kwong said the party’s loss of 60,000 votes from the previous election was due partly to the Democrats’ supporting the government’s 2010 political reform package.

The party won six seats in the Legislative Council – down from eight in 2008 – the least since it was founded 18 years ago.

The result shows that the party’s key members are out of touch and that new leaders are needed, Cheung said on a Commercial Radio programme.

He said a new, younger leadership team would help the two-decade-old party reform and “feel closer to the trends of the society”.

Cheung, the former education lawmaker, lost his bid this month for a directly elected seat in Kowloon West.

He said Albert Ho Chun-yan’s decision to resign as Democratic Party chief was due largely to the party’s loss in New Territories West, where former chairman Lee Wing-tat failed to retain his seat.

”Lee’s failure meant that the DP was cleared out of a district that was once a stronghold for us”, said Cheung.

”When Albert Ho heard about Lee’s lost, he called me and said he was determined to resign”, Cheung said. Lee’s wife, Chan Shu-ying, also lost in New Territories West, while incumbent democrat lawmaker Wong Sing-chi lost in New Territories East, getting less than half the votes he won in 2008.

Appearing on the same programme, Lee said his loss at the polls was his own fault. “It was me who overlooked [the situation]. I guessed that Chan would lose, but I did not think I would, too. Had I felt that it was coming, I would have called for urgent support during the last few days of the election, which I never did throughout this year’s campaign.”

Cheung said, “every politician should learn a lesson from Lee’s failure, and we should let the setback become a positive experience by allowing us the chance to change.”

“The new chairman has to be relatively younger than us”, Cheung said.