Dems face race and high bar in Legco election

Local | Michael Shum 28 Sep 2021

Democratic Party members who want to run in the Legislative Council election in December should lodge their applications with the party by the middle of next month, chairman Lo Kin-hei said, but its nomination threshold has been criticized as too high.

The party was unable to decide in its general meeting on Sunday whether to allow members to run in the Legco election scheduled for December 19.

Instead, members had authorized the party's central committee to set up a mechanism for those who want to take part, with anyone interested in running needing to secure at least 10 nominations from each of the party's five district branches.

A general meeting will then be called for members to question those planning to stand, and decide whether or not to approve them.

Lo said yesterday that as the nominations for the upcoming elections will start as early as late next month, and the party needs to give 14 days' notice to hold another general meeting after a central committee decision, it will stop accepting applications by mid-October. He hoped the deliberations could unite the party and follow all the established democratic procedures within the party.

Lo also admitted the party had set the bar quite high, but as members would be representing the party in the election, the high threshold was reasonable.

"It is not unachievable, but mainly depends on whether the members hoping to run in the upcoming election have sufficient capability," Lo said.

However, party founding member and former legislator Fred Li Wah-ming took issue with the high threshold. "I do not understand why the nomination threshold is so high under such a tight schedule," Li said.

"Many well-known members have already been unseated and are not qualified to run again, and those who can still run will be lesser known, therefore I think the requirement is intentionally making it difficult for those hoping to run," he added.

Executive Council member Ronny Tong Ka-wah said he respects the party's decision, but is disappointed that it failed to decide whether it will send candidates to stand in the elections.

"I think the mechanism is equivalent to telling members not to run, as they will have to be questioned before being approved to run, therefore I think only a few will plan to run, while some might even part ways with the party in order to run," Tong said.

He added that if none of the Democratic Party members stand for the elections, there will be other parties that can take over their position, including centrist party Third Side, who has already said it is proactively planning to run.

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