The League of Social Democrats has decided to call for shadow competitors to stand against its own candidates in May's Legislative Council by-elections to prevent uncontested polls. The appeal is part of the league's attempt to create a Team B to ensure that voters can still express their aspirations for democracy at the ballot box in the event that no rivals decide to stand. However, the Civic Party, which had expressed reservations over the idea previously, has no plan to follow suit. The party said the league had signed a memorandum of understanding with it on the so-called referendum campaign and hoped it would not make decisions unilaterally. Three of the league's lawmakers and two from the Civic Party have resigned from the Legislative Council to trigger by-elections in all five geographical constituencies, which they view as a de facto referendum on the pace and scope of democratic reform. However, following an unprecedented warning from the central authorities that the campaign to create a so-called referendum would be a blatant challenge to Beijing's authority, all pro-establishment political groups have indicated they will boycott the by-elections. With the league expected to run in New Territories East, New Territories West and Kowloon West, and the Civic Party to contest Hong Kong Island and Kowloon East, the split means only voters in three of the five constituencies may be casting ballots. Last Friday, the league passed a resolution supporting the principle of creating a Team B to prevent automatic election of single candidates. This came after the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the Liberal Party and the Federation of Trade Unions decided not to run. Gavin Kwai Sze-kit, the league's secretary general, said the league wanted to send a clear message to the Civic Party about people's wish to vote. 'If we cannot trigger a real election [because of the lack of a competitor] then nothing will happen. The candidates will just be returned automatically. Then, why did they have to resign in the first place?' he said. He hoped groups in society who supported the de facto referendum plan would volunteer to stand against them, adding that details such as whether the league would assign Team B to the Civic Party's constituencies had yet to be discussed. Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said her party had no intention of following suit. 'First of all, we expect there to be other candidates, but in any case we will not form another team. We believe this will merely lead to confusion,' she said. She reiterated the party's position that it would consider it a 'walkover' in the event of there being no other competitors in the geographical constituencies. 'We have made it very clear that this by-election is on the issue of abolition of functional constituencies to ensure genuine universal suffrage. If nobody is willing to compete against us, it shows no one is willing to defend functional constituencies,' Eu said. Civic Party secretary general Kenneth Chan Ka-lok said the party and the league had signed a memorandum of understanding, and hoped the league would not ignore this and make decisions unilaterally.