Biggest blow to Civic Party in 14-year history

Top News | Maisy Mok 31 Jul 2020

The Civic Party does not expect any of its members will be able to run in the Legislative Council elections, which will be the biggest setback for the lawyer-dominated party in its 14-year history.

With four candidates disqualified yesterday, party chairman Alan Leong Kah-kit believes the remaining two candidates - Jeremy Tam Man-ho in Kowloon East and Gordon Lam Sui-wa in the catering functional constituency - face the same fate.

Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu and members Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, Kwok Ka-ki and Cheng Tat-hung were disqualified by returning officers who alleged the party solicited foreign interference and that members intended to veto the budget if the pro-democracy camp secured a majority in the next legislature.

"This is the worst excuse by the central people's government and the HKSAR government to disqualify people they would not want to see in the next session of the Legislative Council," Leong said.

The disqualifications were a "very naked attempt' silence any dissenting voice in the council, he added, and "there is no lingering doubt that one country, two systems no longer exists."

But the Civic Party - the second biggest pan-dem party after the Democratic Party in the current legislature - will not disband, Leong said. Rather, it would continue to serve citizens in defending human rights and the rule of law.

Kwok said the disqualifications were the result of relentless oppression and that the government has taken away the basic fundamental rights and freedoms of Hongkongers. "I have served Legco for eight years and I am very proud to fight for Hong Kong's human rights, rule of law, and freedoms with Civic Party members," he added.

"If our work from the past was the reason for our disqualifications it is to every Civic Party's member's honor and I do not regret it."

The Civic Party was founded on March 19, 2006 with 100 members including Leong. It was first chaired by Kuan Hsin-chi and led by Audrey Eu Yuet-mee. The current six incumbent legislators, including Tanya Chan, making it the second largest pro-democracy party in Hong Kong.

The camp's biggest party is Democratic Party, which has seven legislators. None of its members were disqualified yesterday. Before the disqualifications were announced, Bar Association chairman and barrister Philip Dykes dashed to submit nominations to join the race before the deadline today.

Dykes said: "This year has a great uncertainty about who can participate in the elections, and my thought is that I can offer to be a candidate rather than letting a list of candidates be disqualified."

Dykes, 67, believes he is qualified for a legislative role and points to his experience in the legal field and leading the professional association for the past two and a half years.

In response to the question whether he could be viewed as a replacement candidate for Kwok, Dykes said he is his own man and is not affiliated to any political party.

Whether he is pro-democratic or pro-establishment will depend on the public view, he said.

Dykes was elected chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association in January 2018.

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