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Friday, May 07, 2021

Power for Democracy disbands as activists expect charges for organizing primary elections

Power for Democracy disbands as activists expect charges for organizing primary elections

Opposition group Power for Democracy, which coordinated the pro-democracy camp's primary election last July, has announced its disbandment and suspension of operations, as activists who participated in the poll expect formal charges over security law breaches tomorrow.
In a short statement, the group's convenor Andrew Chiu Ka-yin said Power for Democracy had completed its "historical mission" as a mediating platform for electoral coordination between pan-democratic parties.

"The executive committee has agreed to the covenor's proposal. From today, the group will suspend operations and disband," Chiu said.

"In the future, we will continue to serve the society in other ways, under the framework of the Basic Law, the national security law and the governing principle of 'One Country, Two Systems,' abiding the laws and safeguarding Hong Kong's stability and prospects."

Power for Democracy, founded by a group of prominent activists including ex-legislators Lee Cheuk-yan, Albert Ho Chun-yan and Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung in 2002, had been coordinating elections between pan-democratic parties to avoid having candidates in the same constituency in District Council and Legco elections.

The statement came after some of the 55 pro-democracy figures, who were arrested in the city-wide crackdown for organizing and standing in the camp's unprecedented primary, were asked to report to police tomorrow, weeks ahead of their next scheduled check-in under bail agreements.

Some of those who were informed about the early attendance at police stations, said they expect officials to lay charges over the national security law.

Under the national security law, suspects had a minimal chance of getting bail once prosecutions proceed.

The primary election was part of the camp's "35-plus" strategy to select candidates for the Legislative Council election, originally scheduled to be held last September.

However, the poll was postponed by a year as the government cited public health concerns amid the pandemic.

Police had accused the group of "subverting state power" by plotting to overthrow the SAR government using the legislature.

The "35-plus" scheme, formulated by legal scholar Benny Tai Yiu-ting, was part of a wider strategy to win at least half of the 70 seats in the Legislative Council. If successful, the camp will be able to gather a powerful force that can block the government's budgets and bill proposals.

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