Date
23 August 2017
Pan-democrats, Occupy Central founders and student leaders hold printouts that read "true universal suffrage" during a press conference on Oct. 12. Photo: HKEJ
Pan-democrats, Occupy Central founders and student leaders hold printouts that read "true universal suffrage" during a press conference on Oct. 12. Photo: HKEJ

Pan-democrats consider resignation to trigger referendum

The pan-democratic camp has reportedly agreed in principle for its members in the Legislative Council to resign en masse to trigger a de facto referendum on political reform, Apple Daily reported Friday.

The plan came out of a recent meeting among pan-democrat lawmakers, Occupy Central leaders, officials of the student groups Scholarism and Hong Kong Federation of Students, and heads of other organizations.

Almost all of the parties are said to be in agreement that a de facto referendum is the way to go, including the three founders of Occupy Central Movement who once insisted that an electronic referendum was better.

However, the pan-democrats have yet to agree on what the topics for the referendum would be, and if the resignation should take place at the super district council or geographical constituency level.

Meanwhile, the HKFS and Scholarism said they would stand firm against the idea of linking the referendum to ending the ongoing protests. Members of other organizations have also said they might have a a shortage of manpower for the referendum exercise, as most of their people are manning the protest sites.

There is also the view that if the street occupation continues, it might be difficult to gain support from neutral voters for the referendum.

Legislator Albert Ho of the Democratic Party said no conclusions have been made at the meeting, and he personally believed the referendum must be serious and authoritative, and that all pan-democrats would have to abide by the results of the referendum in their voting for the political reform bill.

A super district councilor himself, Ho said he is willing to resign in order to trigger a referendum.

Civic Party leader Alan Leong said the referendum is one of the many proposals, but nothing has been set in stone. The party will not rule out any solutions that could help develop democracy in Hong Kong, he added.

Occupy Central founder Chan Kin-man said the referendum is an option worth considering if it could help the young people bring the Umbrella Movement to the community.

However, he warned that pan-democrats would also need to assess the risk associated with resignating, as they are a minority group at the Legislative Council.

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