The League of Social Democrats has mapped out details of a controversial proposal aimed at creating a 'referendum on universal suffrage'. It wants one pan-democrat lawmaker in each of the city's five geographical constituencies to resign and seek re-election in a by-election. It said the move, designed to demonstrate an unequivocal public aspiration for universal suffrage, should take place before the end of next year, when the government rolls out its final constitutional reform proposal. 'It doesn't matter if the pan-democrats lose in any of the by-elections, because if we get more than 60 per cent of the total vote backing our candidates, we can already demonstrate what the public wants,' party chairman Wong Yuk-man said. 'Besides, it is quite unimaginable the leftists can find any credible candidates to defeat our incumbent lawmakers over the topic of universal suffrage.' Despite being initially dismissed by most pan-democrats, the proposal, which would risk reducing the 23 seats the camp won in last year's Legislative Council election, is now being reconsidered. Under Mr Wong's proposal, the Democratic Party, which has nine seats in Legco, would give up two seats, while both the Civic Party and the league, currently with five and three seats respectively, would each pick one lawmaker to resign. The remaining candidate for resignation would be picked by the drawing of lots among independent democrats, so that by-elections could be held in all five geographical constituencies, creating a 'referendum effect'. Mr Wong said the timing of the resignations should coincide with the final reform proposal expected to be tabled by the government to Legco by the end of next year, after a public consultation exercise later this year. 'That will give people the chance to say they don't want any undemocratic reform proposals short of full universal suffrage by 2012,' he said. The Democratic Party and the Civic Party have recently said that they would consider the league's proposal. Democrats' chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, whose party will hold a conference today to discuss strategies on constitutional reform, has agreed the league's proposal has a point and should be considered. Civic Party vice-chairman Alan Leong Kah-kit said his members could consider it at a party meeting next month. One pan-democrat who took part in a cross-party discussion this month, arranged by former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang, said the sudden interest major parties had taken in the league's proposal was a result of their realisation that it could heat up the mundane political atmosphere in the months ahead of the consultation later this year. But Chinese University political scientist Ma Ngok said even if the plan was put into action, it would not convince Beijing to agree to a more democratic reform proposal. 'The referendum effect will only make the democrats feel better when they decide to vote against the government proposal,' he said.