TAKING to the streets is the way out for the Democrats in the face of shrinking opportunities for political manoeuvres, one of the party's Young Turks believes. Chan Kwok-leung, who calls himself a reformist - and not a radical - warned that the party's strength was waning because of its elitist orientation and its emphasis on 'parliamentary politics'. 'This is very risky as we face increasing curbs on political participation,' he said. The Government was moving towards a dictatorial rule by dwarfing the powers of Legco, scrapping the two municipal councils and reintroducing appointees to district councils, he said. The shift of the party's mainstream faction to Legco at the present critical time was unwise, he said. Mr Chan, a provisional urban councillor, was critical of the mild response from core members in Legco over pay and welfare cuts. 'Instead of just press conferences or conducting surveys, we should mobilise workers and take them to the streets. 'It would be a powerless struggle if we fought only inside the chamber and within the political establishment,' said Mr Chan. At a deeper level, the rift between the second-tier leadership and the top lies in the party's relations with the authorities. After the handover, the party was eager to improve relations with the administration and seek dialogue with the central Government through joining the local National People's Congress deputies selection, but to no avail, he said. 'Why should we bother them if they don't bother us? We should not sacrifice the interests of the grassroots for the sake of building up relations and communication,' he said. Mr Chan said he and his supporters were also frustrated that lower-ranking members were left in the dark in the decision-making process and that their views were ignored. On Thursday night, the party's central committee passed two motions - one regretting unionist Lau Chin-shek's resignation from the post of vice-chairman and the other praising the man he beat in elections for the position, Dr Anthony Cheung, for his contribution after his resignation from the leadership. Mr Chan said eight members objected to the motion on Dr Cheung, which was proposed by former Meeting Point members. Dr Cheung was the chief of the Meeting Point before it merged with the United Democrats to become the Democratic Party in the early 1990s. Mr Chan said the four-hour meeting on Thursday highlighted the tension between the mainstream and grassroots factions, rather than bridging the differences. Mr Chan hoped his group - which forms one-third of the central committee - would be able to push for some structural reforms.