The motive for the withdrawal of the Article 23 legislation was purely political: to rescue the government's allies and stop pro-democracy candidates winning a majority in next year's Legco polls, analysts said yesterday. The tactic might succeed, they said. It could ease the pressure on the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), the party that has suffered most from the Article 23 controversy. Ma Ngok, assistant professor of social science at the University of Science and Technology, said he could not think of any other reason for the bill being pulled other than concerns over the DAB's chances of success in next September's election. 'What Tung [Chee-hwa] said today was completely opposite to what he said on July 5. At that time, he insisted the bill be passed before July 9 so [the government could] concentrate [its] efforts on reviving the economy,' Professor Ma said. The government wanted to shift the public agenda to the economy instead of democratisation to avoid increasing the pro-democracy camp's chances of success at the polls, he said. Professor Ma said he believed the withdrawal of the National Security Bill would have little impact on November's district council elections because voters would be more concerned with community issues. Li Pang-kwong, of Lingnan University, said the changes in Hong Kong's political landscape triggered by the 500,000 people who marched on July 1 had made the Hong Kong and mainland governments nervous. 'They feared next year's Legco elections would be [dominated] by the opposition parties. They decided to take a drastic step to prevent this from happening,' Professor Li said. Despite the withdrawal, he believed the legislation would be exploited by the democracy camp in the run-up to the polls. While debate on the most contentious issue dividing the community would now subside, pro-democracy activists are confident of keeping up the momentum of the campaign for democracy and constitutional reform. Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong, spokesman for the Civil Human Rights Front which organised the July 1 march and a July 9 rally outside Legco, said he believed the public's eagerness for change would not diminish. 'In our July 1 march, besides 'anti-Article 23', another slogan we adopted was 'returning political power to the people', which hasn't been achieved yet,' Mr Tsoi said.