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Legislative Council elections 2016

Civic approach: Hong Kong pan-democrat parties reach out to localist election winners

Civic Party and Democratic Party say they are willing to work with all pro-democracy forces and urge Beijing to heed voters’ choices in Legislative Council polls

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2016, 4:20pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2016, 11:29pm

Two major pan-democratic parties say they are willing to work with all pro-democracy forces in the newly elected legislature, including localists who advocate self-determination.

The Democratic Party and Civic Party, which have 13 seats in the new-look Legislative Council, also say Beijing should respond to Hong Kong voters’ choices and get rid of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying as soon as possible.

At a press conference on Tuesday morning, the Civic Party’s Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, re-elected in New Territories East, said his party would extend an olive branch to other lawmakers in the pro-democracy camp, including localists.

“We may not be taking exactly the same path in politics, but when it comes to livelihood issues and issues that are of major public interest, I believe every legislator would be able to collaborate in some way,” Yeung said.

Outgoing lawmaker and party head Alan Leong Kah-kit said the new pan-democrat camp, with many young faces, would need to find a way to collaborate.

“The weekly lunch meetings among pan-democrats are a thing of the past now,” Leong said. “The camp should work out a new mode and consider whether a communication platform is necessary.” Leong urged Beijing to respond to the high 58 per cent turnout rate on Sunday.

“In my constituency, Kowloon East, independence advocate Chan Chak-to scored some 12,000 votes,” he said. “This is a solid expression of people’s will. If Beijing does not drop its high-handed approach to the sentiments, the consequence will be disastrous.”

The Democrats echoed the call, emphasising the need for a communication platform.

“It is important as the non-establishment bloc will have to coordinate on the chairmanship and vice-chairmanship of Legco’s panels very soon,” said Helena Wong Pik-wan, who was re-elected in Kowloon West.

She noted radical groups People Power and the League of Social Democrats did not join the weekly meeting in the last term, but they worked well on critical issues such as political reform.

“Perhaps we could form a loose alliance like this with the localists,” she said.

Her party colleague, Andrew Wan Siu-kin, said it was a consensus among the 30 non-establishment lawmakers that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying should not enjoy a second term.

“Perhaps this could be a litmus test [for the bloc’s cooperation],” he said.

Liberal Party chairman Felix Chung Kwok-pan also said there would be opportunities to work with localists. In the last Legco term, he had discussions with two Youngspiration members, now elected as lawmakers, on the controversial copyright bill, he said.

Separately, Alan Leong also praised his colleague and “super seat” candidate Sumly Chan Yuen-sum for throwing in the towel ahead of the elections.

“His selfless move wrong-footed the election plan of Beijing’s liaison office and helped the pan-democrats retain three of the five ‘super seats’,” Leong said.

Six pan-democrats signed up for the “super seat” race, whose candidates are district councillors elected by all electors except those with a vote in a traditional functional constituency.

Half of them – recording low scores in opinion polls – halted their campaigning days before the citywide polls to ease severe infighting in the camp.