Three localist groups have announced their plans for the upcoming Legislative Council general election in September, after Edward Leung Tin-kei, spokesperson of localist group Hong Kong Indigenous, won more than 15 percents of the votes in Sunday’s by-election.
The groups, including Civic Passion, Hong Kong Resurgence Order and Proletariat Political Institute, said on Monday that they would nominate someone shortly for September’s race. They said the theme of their platform would be: “Creating a de facto referendum in five constituencies; allow all citizens to participate in the creation of constitution”.
“We will send candidates to join the election in all five constituencies. After they are elected into the legislature, they will resign, creating a de facto referendum for rewriting the Basic Law,” said Civic Passion leader Wong Yeung-tat.
The coalition also said that discussions on how to rewrite the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, will be organised prior to the de facto referendum.
The coalition, however, did not include Hong Kong Indigenous, whose candidate Edward Leung Tin-kei ran for the by-election on Sunday.
‘A good sign’
The plan is similar to the de facto referendum triggered in 2010. Five then-legislators, including Tanya Chan Suk-chong, Alan Leong Kah-kit, “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung, Albert Chan Wai-yip and Raymond Wong Yuk-man, resigned in the middle of their term, effectively triggering a city-wide by-election that year. The plan was to strive for true universal suffrage and the abolishment of functional constituencies.
Speaking during the vote counting process early Monday morning, Cheng Chung-tai, a leading figure of localist group Civic Passion, said the figure is a good sign for their movement. “If this number is being carried to the general election of the Legislative Council, it is possible that one or two representatives from localist groups will become elected [in the New Territories (East) constituency].”
While localist groups support democracy, they are better known for their anti-communist stance and close association with movements promoting the expansion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and independence.
Civic Party: a warning signal for CY Leung
Pro-democracy Civic Party, whose candidate Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu scored victory in Sunday’s by-election, also held a press conference on Monday afternoon to thank voters for their support.
“We deeply understand that those who voted for us may not regard Alvin or the Civic Party as the best choice,” said Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, chairman of the Civic Party. “We do treasure this chance that they have given us, and we will reflect upon and review ourselves in the changing times of our party and our democratic allies.”
Eu also added that the by-election results should act as a “warning bell” for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, as up to 65 percent of the voters cast their ballots for candidates who would not support Leung’s possible re-election in 2017.
Yeung said the party is more confident following the by-election as it shows that many people still embrace non-violent means of protest. He added that he plans to make speeches during the reading of the amendment to the controversial Copyright Ordinance, dubbed “Internet Article 23” by internet users, on Wednesday.
Third Side: tough to adopt ‘middle-way’ ideology
Moderate political party Third Side said they were “disappointed” with the loss of their candidate Nelson Wong Sing-chi, who received 17,295, or 4 per cent of the total votes.
Tik Chi-yuen, chairman of the party, said during a press conference on Monday that his party will have to better explain its “middle-way” ideology to Hong Kong people in the coming months. He also called on supporters of the centrist pro-democracy ideology – including former Civic Party leader Ronny Tong Ka-wah and by-election candidate Christine Fong Kwok-shan – to unite and develop their ideology.