Executive councillor Ronny Tong said on Monday that the decision to bar Agnes Chow from standing in the Legco by-elections in March does not mean Demosisto candidates won't be allowed to run for election in future.
He made the comment in seeking to explain why Chow was stopped from running when the party's chairman, Nathan Law, had been allowed to stand and was elected in 2016.
Tong – who's a Senior Counsel – said that Law's action during his swearing-in, which led to his disqualification as a lawmaker, is chiefly to blame for Chow being barred.
"What Nathan Law did at the swearing-in has an important impact on how the returning officer views [how they] exercise power and responsibility under the law," Tong said.
Law's behaviour would have influenced the returning officer to scrutinise the party's manifesto, he said. "This you can see from the returning officer's letter of rejection," the Executive Council member said.
When taking his oath, Law raised the pitch of his voice while reading the words ‘People’s Republic of China’ which sounded to some people as if he was asking a question. He also made a short speech quoting Mahatma Gandhi.
Tong said Demosisto has already moved to remove wording about self-determination on its website. He told RTHK's Janice Wong that if the party can convince the electoral officer about their change in stance, they should be able to run in the future elections.
Law, meanwhile, made it clear that the party's views have not changed despite the tweak to the Chinese-language introduction to Demosisto on its website which he said was carried out before Chow's candidacy was rejected.