The "old guard" of Hong Kong's pan-democratic parties needs a new lease of life and more young blood, says veteran lawmaker Emily Lau Wai-hing.
The acting chairwoman of the Democratic Party said yesterday the party needed to address its ageing problem, saying it had not done enough to cultivate the talents of its young members.
"On the one hand, younger members have to work hard, but on the other, the party can do more to assist them," she said.
Lau, a lawmaker who has served in the Legislative Council since 1991, said she hoped more younger members would participate in the party's leadership election in December.
Roy Kwong Chun-yu, the party's 29-year-old elected district councillor in Yuen Long, said: "The coming four years are crucial. The young [members] know we cannot reach the top in one step, but we will learn quicker if there is a lawmaker leading and teaching us over this period - like an apprenticeship."
Kwong ran with former chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan for a "super seat" in last month's Legislative Council election.
Lau said the party would hold a symposium to analyse the Legco election results. The Democratic Party only retained six seats - the fewest since it was founded 18 years ago.
Critics blamed the failure on the party's decision to negotiate with the central government's liaison office in Hong Kong and its support of the government's 2010 electoral package, but Lau said there were other causes.
"It is hard to scientifically quantify what produced these results, but we can't exclude that as one of the reasons," she said.