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Sunday, Oct 17, 2021

Democratic Party to skip election for the first time

The Democratic Party will be absent from the upcoming Legislative Council election for the first time since the handover.
The city's biggest pan-democratic party confirmed in a statement that by the deadline last evening, none of its members had submitted their application for internal selection in order to gain approval for running in the December 19 election.

Founding member Fred Li Wah-ming, who advocated for the party to send candidates to the elections, said the outcome was disappointing and saddening.

He also voiced his discontent over the central committee for raising the threshold for running for Legco, which drove away members who intended to run.

"I believe those who insist the Democratic Party should not take part in the upcoming elections should be satisfied now," he said.

While awaiting chairman Lo Kin-hei's announcement of the party's future direction, Li said he will consider parting ways with the party if it is unable to develop in a healthy way.

"I will keep an eye on members withdrawing from the party to stand in the elections, and I am willing to help with their campaign," he said.

The party earlier set up an internal selection mechanism for members hoping to stand in the December elections to secure 40 nominations from fellow members, including 20 from their own district branch and five from each of the four district branches of the party.

After receiving valid submissions, members will decide whether the member will represent the party in the Legco elections.

Only one member - June 4 activist Han Dongfang - has expressed interest in running in the election, but he received less than 10 nominations.

"Most people that I contacted were willing to nominate me, but there were some who did not respond. I have not participated in the party's activities in the past 10 years ... and therefore it is difficult for me to obtain nominations," Han said.

He also said that "civil rights activists do not have the chance to stand in the elections, or else, I believe they will not give up the opportunity [to run]."

Li Hung-por, vice chairman of the party's New Territories West branch, said he supported the party sending candidates in the upcoming election, but the disqualification of multiple district councillors meant the party lacked the time and conditions to run.

"It is very saddening, as former lawmakers James To Kun-sun, Roy Kwong Chun-yu and chairman Lo Kin-hei were seen as capable of running," he said.

"But based on the current political circumstances, they will most probably be unseated, and there is a more imminent problem to solve at the moment, which is to carry on community work," he added.

Over 80 percent of the party's district councillors have lost their seats due to resignations and disqualifications amid the government requirement that those taking public offices must take an oath pledging allegiance to the SAR and uphold the Basic Law.

District councillors who advocated running in the December elections, including vice chairwoman Edith Leung Yik-ting and central committee member So Yat-hang, were both stripped of their capacity earlier as Kwun Tong and Eastern district councillors respectively and therefore will not be able to run in the upcoming Legco elections.

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