Time really flies. Before you know it, it is Christmas again. And this is again a time of the year that one reviews the successes, or some would like to put it, the failures of last year. For a start, it has been a turbulent year in more sense than one. There was the pseudo-referendum by-election, a first of its kind political reform debate between the chief Executive and Party Leader of the Civic Party, what looks like a thawing of relationship between some of the Pan Democrats and Beijing, the passing of a much improved political reform package, which led to the departure of some founding members and a legislator from Hong Kong’s biggest pro-democracy party, the Democratic Party, and last but not least, and probably much to the delight of Beijing and its political allies in Hong Kong, an undeniably ever widening rift within the Democratic Movement in Hong Kong.
So what will the political landscape look like in the year to come? The position will, of course, be less confusing if the rift is merely ideological in the sense that the differences between the two camps in the Pan Democrats, that is to say, the Democratic Party and the Alliance for Universal Suffrage on the one hand and the Civic Party and LSD on the other, lie simply in difference in approach. But that is not so. Splinter groups of LSD and indeed LSD itself, are threatening to “punish” those who supported the revised political reform in the coming elections. The Civic Party is non-committal in this respect, but it certainly can’t be assumed that they are still allies of the Democratic Party. They will not be, for the simple reason that come election time, the Civic Party will undoubtedly continue to boast its participation in the 5 district resignations and accuse the Democratic Party of “betraying” democratic principles and the latter’s election promises.
All these, much to the delight of DAB and their allies, look very much like a complete split in the Movement. More importantly, the pro-government parties are hoping all these will translate into substantial gains for them in the elections to come. This is, of course, not unlikely. This is especially so in the forth coming District Election. It is a rule of thumb that where two or more pro-democracy candidates are vying for the same seat, the seat will go to the opposite camp. In particular, seemingly independent, but in truth, candidates of the pro-government camp, are going to reap the benefit of the split in the democratic camp. This will in turn have a material impact on the following LegCo Election, not only in relation to the 5 so-called super District Council seats but also in relation to the direct election seats. This is because most LegCo candidates rely heavily on the support of District Councilors in electioneering activities and canvassing votes in estates. Without adequate District Councilors’ support, all Pan Democrat candidates will be running at a disadvantage.
You may ask, so why would Pan Democrats fight against each other? More to the point, even if there are political differences between different camps in the Democratic Movement, why one camp should seek to "punish" the other camp in elections? Why can't the "punishment" come in some other way or form? Most fundamentally, how would this promote and further the cause for democracy? This is a question most democracy supporters cannot fathom, let alone answer. The only obvious explanation is LSD and perhaps even the Civic Party are out to destroy the Democratic Party and hope to install themselves as the leaders and only real members of the Democratic Movement. To many, this is a very sad state of affairs. For most people in Hong Kong, the common goal is to secure universal suffrage within the time-frame promised by Beijing. The point of the Democratic Movement is not to see who can survive from internal back stabbings to become a leader of the Movement. In fact, most people despise such selfish desires. This will be another reason why voters may desert the Pan Democrat candidates in the coming elections.
This is the time of the year when most people are wishing each other for a happy new year. But for the Pan Democrats, and those will care deeply for the democratic future of Hong Kong, the coming new year may well turn out to be a most unhappy new year! Let us just hope good senses and better vision will eventually prevail!