Youngspiration, an “umbrella soldier” group borne out of last year’s pro-democracy Occupy protests, has invited the Civic Party to hold a primary for the Legislative Council by-election in the New Territories East constituency next year.

The by-election set to take place in February 2016 was triggered by the resignation of former Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah. Tong’s apprentice Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, has been a designated choice of the pan-democrats to run in the by-election, although he would need to be officially endorsed at the party’s general meeting.

Youngspiration’s convenor Baggio Leung Chung-hang said during a Commercial Radio programme on Tuesday that the group is interested in running in a primary ahead of the by-election.

Baggio Leung Chung-hang of Youngspiration
Baggio Leung Chung-hang of Youngspiration. Photo: Youngspiration.

“We have asked if there will be a primary mechanism, to let people use their votes to decide who should be running,” he said, “I would describe it as a more cost-effective way, and it fits the ideals and principles [of both parties].”

Leung added that the proposed primary could use the 2007 LegCo by-election between pan-democrats as a reference point.

In the 2007 primary, former Chief Secretary Anson Chan ran against League of Social Democrats’ Lo Wing-lok – the result was decided by a survey conducted by Public Opinion Programme of the University of Hong Kong (HKUPOP) and an internal vote among pan-democrat group members and lawmakers.

Another primary between lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan and Frederick Fung Kin-kee for the 2012 Chief Election involved a survey conducted by HKUPOP and a popular vote for all people in Hong Kong over 18 years old. More than 33,000 people voted in the primary.

alan leong
Alan Leong. Photo: Wikicommons.

Ready to listen
In response, Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit said: “I hope that Youngspiration can understand that the by-election in New Territories East is not just a matter between two political groups, it also involves the management of resources, and election strategy.”

“We will contact Youngspiration as soon as possible to listen to their political ideals. Before the meeting, we will discuss the suggestion from Youngspiration with the other pan-democrat groups.” Leong added.

The meeting between the two parties is expected to take place in December.

Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu told Now TV that Youngspiration also supported democracy, that the group was not very different from pan-democrats, and that it had achieved some good results in the short time since their formation.

“I believe voters have some reasonable hopes for them, and the pan-democrats should communicate with them in a correct way.” Yeung said.

Youngspiration won one seat out of nine contested on Sunday’s District Council election.

The group has been accused by some pan-democrats of unwilling to give up running in constituencies where pro-democracy candidates clashed. The group said they were working in the constituencies before other parties.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.