Rift in opposition camp trickles down to supporters - RTHK
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Rift in opposition camp trickles down to supporters

2020-08-21 HKT 14:48
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  • Pro-democracy supporters who called into a radio programme were split about deciding the fate of incumbent lawmakers through a poll. File photo: RTHK
    Pro-democracy supporters who called into a radio programme were split about deciding the fate of incumbent lawmakers through a poll. File photo: RTHK
Frances Sit reports
Pro-democracy supporters who called into an RTHK radio programme on Friday reflected the rift that was in the camp over whether the opposition lawmakers should continue serving in the extended Legco and the move to let a poll result decide the issue.

The term of the current legislature has been extended after the Chief Executive Carrie Lam decided to postpone the September 6 elections, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

This has led to divisions in the pro-democracy groups as some argue they should not cooperate with this extended Legco as their mandate as incumbents has ended. Democratic Party and the Civic Party on Thursday said they would let a public poll decide whether they stay, or go

One female caller, surnamed Lau, told RTHK it was a difficult to know what was the best or worst thing to do in this situation and it was important for the camp to show a united front.

Lau said she was in favour of arriving at a decision through a poll, but acknowledged that no one side would have 100 percent support.

Her sentiments were shared by another caller surnamed Wong. He said he understood the reasons for holding the poll and said it was a good idea,

He said with the enactment of national security law and public gathering banned, there was no avenue for the people to protest or resist. Legco was the only place where people can express opposition to the government, said Wong.

"The pro-establishment camp have the majority but that's ok, as long as we have a platform in Legco to express our views, that's better than just being on the streets or expressing our views online," he said.

Another caller, Tong, said she had lost some hope in the pan-democrats since the poll announcement. The decision was stupid and staying in Legco was a better option, she said.

A caller surnamed Cheung also said he didn't mind if the pan-democrat decided to stay on for one more year, but felt that holding a poll was a bad idea.

He said that if the pan-democrat camp explained to the public very clearly why they should stay, then people would understand. But it was risky leaving it in then hands of a large number of people who may not understand the consequences, he warned.

"It's like seeing a doctor, we see the doctor because we trust them to tell us what medicine to take and how to get better," he said. "Lawmakers are the same; they've done this job for a long time and they understand the system and... they should come out and explain it to the public."

Earlier in the day Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai acknowledged that since he announced earlier this week that his party was inclined to stay on, the public reaction has been divided.

Wu said he hoped the poll can resolve the fierce disputes in the pan-democratic camp over this.

Meanwhile, Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung used the example of the Brexit referendum, where two opposing sides failed to convince each other. It would be better to put it to a vote then, he said.

A government notice gazetted on Friday confirmed that the extended Legislative Council's new session will begin on October 14.