Fifteen pan-democrat lawmakers said on Friday that they will step down from the extended Legislative Council if that’s what more than half of their supporters in a coming poll want.
The 50-percent threshold is significantly lower than the two-thirds majority the pan-dems had previously suggested, meaning it’s now more likely that the bloc will quit the council en masse.
The poll, commissioned by the pan-democrats, is scheduled to run for a week starting September 21.
The opposition camp has been split over whether they should continue as legislators after Beijing extended the term of the current Legco for at least a year, in line with the SAR government’s decision to postpone the election that was to have been held on Sunday. It had cited the Covid pandemic in making the decision.
While opposition lawmakers belonging to traditional parties had favoured staying on as lawmakers, some others in the camp had argued the legislators have lost their mandate to continue.
The group of pan-democrats, headed by lawmakers from Democratic Party and the Civic Party, said they have asked the Public Opinion Research Institute run by veteran pollster Robert Chung, and the Chinese University's public opinion survey centre to conduct the poll to find out what voters want.
They will poll 2,000 random people by phone and release the results a week afterwards.
The lawmakers, including Hong Kong First's Claudia Mo, Labour Party's Fernando Cheung and social welfare sector's Shiu Ka-chun, said they will stay in the extended Legco only if more than half of their supporters say they should not resign.
But if the results are too close to call, more discussions will be held before reaching a decision, they said.
Democratic Party’s chairman Wu Chi-wai said they lowered the threshold from two-thirds to half, to dispel questions on whether they are setting too high of a requirement for them to boycott the Legco extension.
But pollster Chung said they will only count votes submitted by people who say they support the 15 lawmakers, because the councillors only want to adhere to the views of their own base.
Wu said the group will try to get the community to talk more about the issue by attending public forums and publishing leaflets.
He said he hopes more lawmakers from the opposition camp will get on board with this plan.
But People Power's Ray Chan and Land Justice's Chu Hoi-dick, who had earlier said they aren't inclined to stay in Legco, have refused to comment on the new survey arrangements.
Last updated: 2020-09-04 HKT 17:44