Civic Party insists on group session with liaison office director on political reform

All six lawmakers will hold talks with liaison office chief after Ronny Tong drops demand

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2014, 11:25am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 May, 2014, 3:10am

The Civic Party will insist on meeting Beijing's liaison office chief as a group to discuss electoral reform, despite differences with one of its six lawmakers over public nomination.

The decision was made at a party meeting yesterday after Dennis Kwok confirmed he had been the second Civic Party lawmaker after Dr Kwok Ka-ki to receive an individual invitation from the central government's liaison office for talks.

It came after Ronny Tong Ka-wah - who has put forward his own proposal for the 2017 chief executive election that omits the public's right to nominate candidates - dropped an earlier demand to meet office director Zhang Xiaoming alone or with pan-democrats who support his plan.

Tong said yesterday he had changed his mind after the meeting. "I would meet Zhang with other Civic Party lawmakers. I was assured there would be sufficient time for me to discuss my proposal," he said.

He added the party would like to meet Zhang at a venue other than the liaison office's premises in Western. "We would prefer Legco or even the government offices as the venue," he said.

Zhang is expected to invite pan-democrats shortly, following a trip to Shanghai by legislators to discuss political reform.

Education-sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen also confirmed that he had received an invitation on Monday, but he "has to discuss details with the sector before making a decision".

While he had stated a preference to meet Zhang with Charles Mok and Kenneth Leung of Professional Commons, who support his proposal, Tong said yesterday: "I would not tag along … with Leung and Mok. It is unnecessary."

Tong's plan, unveiled in October, focused on making the nominating committee for chief executive candidates more representative while leaving out the contentious element of allowing all voters to nominate candidates.

Fellow moderate pan-democrats, including those from his own party, opposed his idea.

The public consultation on methods for electing the chief executive in 2017 and the Legislative Council in 2016 is due to end on Saturday.

The Democratic Party and Labour Party said they had not been contacted by the liaison office, but "were likely to only accept a party-based meeting".

League of Social Democrats lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung said he would meet Zhang "as long as the meeting was open and recorded".