Retreat from front line not political suicide, says chairman An influential pro-democracy group spearheading the drive for the introduction of universal suffrage in Hong Kong is considering playing a lesser role in the campaign. The Democratic Development Network is contemplating leaving it to political groups to make high-profile demands for direct elections for the chief executive and the legislature. Instead, the group that includes prominent academics, representatives of political parties and Christian groups, said it would tackle the details involved in setting up a democratic political system if universal suffrage was introduced. Network chairman the Reverend Chu Yiu-ming said a retreat from the front line would not amount to 'political suicide' as they would still pursue a common goal. 'We have always been a single-issue group which would see the end of its historic mission when the goal is achieved,' he said. 'Within the big picture of direct elections in 2007 and 2008, we have many things to tend to, such as the details of how the system will work if there is universal suffrage.' The network will decide its future at a meeting on January 3. It is likely that as well as preparing a detailed proposal for how the chief executive should be democratically elected, academics from the network will also concentrate on the structure of the cabinet system, ministers' relations with civil servants and the formation of government advisory committees. The network was formed in July last year to increase public awareness and support for realising the Basic Law's ultimate goal of electing the chief executive and the legislature through universal suffrage in 2007 and 2008 respectively. The network struggled to make headway last year - uncertain of the level of public support. But the group said the mass protest on July 1 had changed things. 'An issue originally distant for many has suddenly became a strong general public demand. Now even the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong said it would support the cause,' a core member of the network said.