The pan-democratic lawmakers have announced on Tuesday that they will stay in the Legislative Council (LegCo) for the coming year, as the public opinion poll failed to provide a clear direction for them on whether they should stay or not.
Their decision created a split in the opposition camp as three of the 22 members decided to leave.
People Power legislator Ray Chan and pan-democratic lawmaker Chu Hoi-dick had announced on Monday that they will quit on Wednesday–the original termination date of the current LegCo.
Civic Party’s vice-chairwoman Tanya Chan also said she will end her role as lawmaker due to health and family concerns.
Democratic Party commissioned the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute to conduct a poll, which surveyed around 2,500 Cantonese-speaking people last week.
739 of the respondents who claimed to be the supporters of the pan-democratic camp could not agree on the issue. 47.1 per cent of them answered that the pan-democratic lawmakers should serve the extended term in the LegCo, while 45.8 per cent replied the opposite.
As neither response reached a majority, Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai said pan-democrats had to make a difficult decision “according to their political judgement”.
By serving out the extended term, Wu said the camp wishes to work together to delay some of the questionable government policies.
“We can at least have some power, some force to fight against the government, instead of giving up the whole venue to the pro-establishment camp and the government,” Wu added.
The pan-democrats said they will not rule out the possibility of cooperating with those who decided to leave, as well as the young localists outside the council.
They also said they will have four major focuses in the coming year as they will fight for the return of the 12 Hong Kong citizens detained in mainland China, stop the pro-Beijing lawmakers from amending the Legco ordinances to investigate anti-government protesters, call for the resumption of Legco election, and prevent Hong Kong citizens living in the Greater Bay Area from being eligible to vote in the upcoming election.
“I realise we didn’t have any overwhelming support to stay on, we need to work double hard, and we will do just that.” HK First legislator Claudia Mo said, “we will take what’s left and fight on.”
The one-year extension of the current term of the Legislative Council was authorised by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress last month, as a result of the election being postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.