The Democratic Party should run in the Legislative Council election in December or it should disband, former lawmaker of the party Fred Li Wah-ming said.
Li said the party should try to field candidates to run, citing there is still a chance of one or two of the party's members getting enough nominations.
Speaking yesterday before the party's general meeting to decide whether to participate in the election on Sunday, Li said the party should not give up even if members may not be able to get enough nominations or eventually be disqualified.
"The party is not a pressure group. Nor is it a think tank that only gives opinions," he said. "If it gives up in running in an election, what else can it do for the people?"
Regarding suggestions that the party can skip one Legco term and run in the next, Li said the idea was an "ostrich policy" as the local political environment is unlikely to become more lenient toward pro-democracy groups four years later.
He believes that they are "very likely" to win in the polls if the party is nominated. "Then at least we can make some noise in parliament."
Li said if the party gives up, it will only make Legco even more "one-sided."
In April, Li said the party should boycott the election if it is the only pro-democracy group given a green light by Beijing.
However, he said yesterday that the circumstances have changed drastically from those in April, as many pan-democratic heavyweights have been arrested and remanded.
"In this sad and pessimistic political atmosphere, if the party does not run in the election, I don't know what it can do," he said.
Meanwhile, All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese vice chairman Lo Man-tuen said in a newspaper interview that the Democratic Party's leadership risks breaching the Basic Law if they decide to boycott the Legco election.
Lo said in that case, all members will be questioned over their allegiance to the SAR and whether they sincerely uphold the Basic Law, bringing doubts to the members' qualifications in future elections. Members who wish to remain in the political field will have to consider withdrawing from the party.
Separately, Legco president Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said the Democratic Party is not the only one in the pan-democratic camp, adding that the party's former member Tik Chi-yuen, who is now the leader of the Third Side, also belongs to the camp.
Tik is the only non-pro-establishment candidate who won in the Election Committee election on Sunday.