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Occupy Central

Thunderbolt plan: Benny Tai devises proposal for Hong Kong pan-democrats to win half of legislative seats in September poll

Law lecturer and Occupy co-founder says pro-democracy parties should join hands in a united front to maximise their electoral returns

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 February, 2016, 8:39pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 February, 2016, 10:12pm

Occupy Central co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting has mapped out a “thunderbolt plan” for pan-democrats to grab half of the seats in this year’s Legislative Council election, but it has met with reservations from politicians.

Elaborating on his idea floated in a newspaper column earlier this week, the law professor called for pan-democrats to forge a united front in the September election. He was speaking during a radio show yesterday.

READ MORE: Occupy Central co-founder Benny Tai urges Hong Kong’s democracy fighters to ‘first protect themselves’

“I’m not talking about a moral calling. It’s hard to convince people,” said Tai, who founded the Occupy civil disobedience movement in 2013, which he also initiated through a newspaper article.

“I mean all political parties and groups should do their maths and weigh their chances of winning.”

Tai said he had, with the help of actuaries, reviewed statistics in the 2012 election and believed it was possible for the pan-democratic camp to gain half of the seats in September to erase the pro-Beijing camp’s majority.

By breaking the majority, pan-democrats would have much stronger bargaining power in future political reform, he said.

Pan-democrats now hold 18 out of 35 seats in geographical constituencies. He said the camp should field no more than 23 lists if their goal is to win 23 seats.

Turning to the trade-based functional constituencies, where the camp now holds six out of the 30 seats, Tai suggested the camp attempt to win three more seats – medical, engineering and architectural, surveying and planning .

READ MORE: ‘Tipping point will come’ on Hong Kong’s political reform, says Occupy Central co-founder Benny Tai

The camp would then be able to hold half of Legco – 35 seats – provided it also retains three “super seats”, which are elected by all 3.2 million voters.

Democratic Party lawmaker Sin Chung-kai said Tai’s idea would be “difficult to implement”. He doubted the umbrella soldiers and radical parties would be willing to collaborate.

Chan Wai-yip of People Power called Tai’s scheme a “nightmare”. “Professor Tai is well-intended, but he doesn’t know about elections,” he said.