Despite apparently lukewarm voter support for the 'de facto referendum' and seeming indifference among other pan-democrats to their campaign, the Civic Party yesterday formally endorsed Alan Leong Kah-kit's and Tanya Chan's plans to seek re-election in the May by-elections. Leong and Chan will seek the Kowloon East and the Hong Kong Island seats respectively, on a shared platform of striving for genuine universal suffrage and abolition of functional constituencies. The two are part of a joint campaign with the League of Social Democrats to turn the by-elections on May 16 into a de facto referendum on the pace and scope of democratic reform. The league is expected to supply three candidates in the remaining geographical constituencies, after its former lawmakers, Wong Yuk-man, Leung Kwok-hung, and Albert Chan Wai-yip resigned at the end of last year. Leong and Chan said they planned to register their intentions on April 7. A recent University of Hong Kong survey has suggested that the turnout for the by-elections, which the pro-establishment camp will boycott, branding them an abuse of process and a challenge to Beijing's authority, will be as low as 25 per cent. Civic Party members yesterday remained optimistic. 'The very reason for us initiating this referendum campaign ... was because we trust in the people of Hong Kong,' party chairman Kuan Hsin-chi said. Meanwhile, other pan-democrats who have joined the Alliance for Universal Suffrage have released a 'roadmap to universal suffrage', as part of an alternative strategy to obtain a pledge that functional constituencies will be abolished. They have dismissed the idea that helping increase the by-election voter turnout will help increase support for their proposal. Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee stressed that the two factions were still working towards the same goal but said it was critical to first establish the principles of universal suffrage before debating interim proposals. Leong said: 'How are you going to measure support for their proposal? I cannot think of a better, more scientific way, to measure support than through the casting of votes at an election.' Meanwhile, Chow Ping-tim, an independent Tsuen Wan district councillor, yesterday registered his intention to stand in the New Territories West.