The gulf between lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah and the Civic Party leadership is widening, with Tong saying his party has been too short-sighted and too arrogant on political issues. Despite the rift, he insists he has no plans at present to leave the party. Tong's relations with the party have deteriorated since its decision to join a campaign to trigger five Legco by-elections in the hope of making them a de facto referendum on the pace and scope of democratisation. At a media gathering yesterday, Tong said he could no longer identify with the party's political thinking. 'On livelihood issues, I am still on good working relations with the party. But on political beliefs, the party is too short-sighted and is too arrogant,' Tong said. He said some people in the party were too concerned with its image, resulting in leaders caring too much about instant acclaim from the public rather than the long-term development of democracy. He was referring to the party's participation in the de facto referendum exercise, under which two of its lawmakers, Tanya Chan and Alan Leong Kah-kit, and three from the League of Social Democrats resigned to force by-elections in the five geographical constituencies in May. Tong diverged from the party line and joined the Alliance for Universal Suffrage, which together with the Democratic Party negotiated with Beijing a compromise on electoral reform which the Civic Party and hardline pan-democrats rejected. Legco subsequently passed these reforms. Despite the split, Tong said he did not have plans to run for party chief in its forthcoming leadership election. Party lawmaker Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee tried to play down Tong's rift with the leadership, saying the party welcomed different views among its members. Tong still hopes to contest one of the five new seats the reform compromise will create in Legco's functional constituency for district councils at the 2012 election. However, his party has yet to decide whether to put up candidates for the seats.