The number of district council members of the New People’s Party has almost tripled, from 12 to 31, after it confirmed its alliance with New Territories East group Civil Force on Wednesday.
Instead of a clear-cut merger, senior NPP figures will also sign up to Civil Force and vice versa.
Civil Force chairman Pun Kwok-shan, a Sha Tin district councillor, was named the New People’s Party’s new vice-chairman.
The NPP has two legislative councillors – party chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, who also sits on the Executive Council, and vice-chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun.
The NPP has 12 district councillors across Hong Kong Island and the New Territories, while its new partner has 18 district councillors in Sha Tin and Sai Kung, both in New Territories East.
Scarlett Pong Oi-lan is the only one of the 18 Civil Force district councilors to have not joined the NPP as part of the alliance, while all 12 NPP district councillors have also joined Civil Force. Both NPP lawmakers have signed up for Civil Force. Industrial sector representative Lam Tai-fai, Civil Force’s only lawmaker, rejected the opportunity to join the NPP.
Two other district councilors not originally affiliated with any political group have also joined the NPP and Civil Force as part of the deal.
The partnership means that both groups will together have 31 seats on district councils.
Pun said the two groups will “actively consider” working together to contest for a seat in New Territories East in the 2016 Legislative Council election.
“In 2012, we only lost by a margin of about 4,000 votes,” Pun said. “We also hope that with the help of the New People’s Party platform, [the two] groups can have more exchanges on political issues, such as the impact of the government’s property-market cooling measures.”
NPP chairwoman Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee also said that “as a responsible political party, we hope that we can win a seat in all of the Legco’s five geographical constituencies … but we don’t have any detailed plan for the 2016 poll yet.”