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Legislative Council elections 2016

Moderate Hong Kong political groups seek closer co-operation in Legco elections

Third Side hopes to maximise its chances by working with Path of Democracy, which suffered a blow when one of its three prospective candidates pulled out

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 June, 2016, 4:05pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 June, 2016, 4:05pm

Two middle-of-the-road political groups – Third Side and Path of Democracy – are seeking closer co-operation ahead of the Legislative Council elections in September.

The move coincides with the abrupt decision by Path of Democracy prospective candidate Joseph Lau Pui-wing to drop out of the race for “personal reasons”.

The think tank, founded by former Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah, had planned to field Lau in the New Territories East constituency.

Moderate Hong Kong group Path of Democracy set to field three candidates in Legislative Council elections

Tik Chi-yuen, chairman of Third Side political party, said: “We hope to co-ordinate better. At least, we seek to work out a gentlemen’s agreement, say, if there are candidates from our two groups contesting seats in the same constituency, they will not attack in their election campaigns.

“By co-operating we may get more seats and expand the influence of the middle-of-the-road political spectrum in society.”

He also hoped that longer-term co-operation could be established with Path of Democracy after the elections.

Earlier this month two radical parties, People Power and the League of Social Democrats, announced they would join hands in their election bid. And five post-Occupy groups united by a belief in self-determination for Hong Kong formed a coalition in April to contest Legco seats.

Third Side is planning to field candidates in the Kowloon West, New Territories East and New Territories West constituencies. Tik and the party’s secretary general, Wong Chun-long, are tipped to run in Kowloon West.

Tik said: “The moderate, middle-of-the-road political positioning is getting more popular in recent months after more people see that neither the opposition nor the pro-establishment camp is doing any good to society.”

There are a lot of possibilities that can be explored. But there is not a formal agreement yet
Ronny Tong Ka-wah, Path of Democracy

A University of Hong Kong poll commissioned by Path of Democracy last October found that

69.3 per cent believed Hong Kong needed a middle-of-the-road political force.

Tong said that Path of Democracy had been in touch with Third Side.

“We have been keeping contact. There are a lot of possibilities that can be explored. But there is not a formal agreement yet,” he said.

His think tank had intended to field three candidates to contest the Kowloon West, Hong Kong Island, and New Territories East constituencies. But Lau’s unexpected decision has disrupted that plan.

The group is expected to announce its election platform on Friday.

Political analyst Dr Chung Kim-wah of Polytechnic University was pessimistic about the middle-of-the-road camp’s chances of success in the election, given the polarised political scene.