Civic Party

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For other uses, see Civic Party (disambiguation).
Civic Party
公民黨
Leader Alvin Yeung
Chairman Alan Leong
Founded 19 March 2006
Preceded by Article 45 Concern
Group
Headquarters Unit 202, 2/F, Block B,
Sea View Estate,
4–6 Watson Road,
North Point, Hong Kong
Youth wing Young Civics
Membership  (2016) Increase ~500
Ideology Constitutionalism
Liberalism
Social liberalism
Political position Centre to Centre-left
Regional affiliation Pro-democracy camp
Colours      Purple
Legislative Council
5 / 70
District Councils
11 / 458
Website
www.civicparty.hk
Hkpol.jpg
Politics and government
of Hong Kong
Foreign relations
Related topics Hong Kong SAR Regional Emblem.svg Hong Kong portal
Civic Party
Traditional Chinese 公民黨

Civic Party (Chinese: 公民黨) is a pro-democracy liberal political party established in 2006 in Hong Kong. Led by Alvin Yeung and chaired by Alan Leong, the party is now the fourth largest party in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong, commanding five seats.[1] It also has 11 seats in the District Councils.

Founded in 2006, the Civic Party was derived from the Basic Law Article 45 Concern Group formed by a group of barristers in pursuit of the universal suffrage of the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council after the large-scale pro-democracy demonstration against the legislation of the Basic Law Article 23 in 2003, in which the barristers took the leading role against the national security bill. The group won four seats in the 2004 Legislative Council election and transformed into a political party afterwards.

The Civic Party had contested in the 2007 Chief Executive election by nominating legislator Alan Leong to challenge incumbent Donald Tsang which was elected by the 800-member Election Committee. In 2010, the party launched the "Five Constituencies Referendum" with another pro-democracy party League of Social Democrats (LSD) to pressure the government to implement universal suffrage. The party surpassed the flagship pro-democracy party Democratic Party in the 2012 Legislative Council election by popular votes, winning six seats. The party retained its six seats in the 2016 election.

Party beliefs[edit]

The party is considered part of the pan-democracy camp in the Legislative Council. The party's objectives are:[2]

  • to promote a democratic political system in Hong Kong built upon universal suffrage, the rule of law, constitutionalism, civil liberties and equality of opportunities for all Hong Kong people;
  • to provide support and services for members of the Party who hold elected public office and members of the Party who stand in elections as candidates to such public office as is open to election in Hong Kong;
  • to foster a sustainable community through partnership with civil society groups;
  • to promote civic education;
  • to foster social cohesion and undertake community projects for the well being of Hong Kong residents.

During the 2008 Legislative Council election campaign, candidates from the party also called for the introduction of a statutory minimum wage and a competition law.

History[edit]

Founding[edit]

The Civic Party was founded on 19 March 2006 as a coalition of six incumbent members of the Legislative Council. Four of them, Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, Alan Leong Kah-kit, Ronny Tong Ka-wah and Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee were barristers, who had already cooperated as an informal bloc called the Article 45 Concern Group, reflecting their efforts to realise universal suffrage with Article 45 and 68 of the Hong Kong Basic Law. They were joined by two other incumbents, the then functional constituency Legislative Councillors Mandy Tam Heung-man (Accountancy) and Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung (Social Welfare), as well as a number of pan-democratic academics.[3] Political scientist Professor Kuan Hsin-chi became the first Chairman of the Civic Party and Audrey Eu the first Leader of the party. At the time of formation, the party was holding six seats in the Legislative Council, making it the fourth largest party.

The Article 45 Concern Group was transferred from the Article 23 Concern Group launched in 2002 opposing the legislation of the Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23. The barristers rose to fame as the issue escalated to a full-scale civil movement in the mid summer of 2003. Alan Leong and Ronny Tong were both able to elected to the Legislative Council in the geographical constituency direct elections in Kowloon East and New Territories East respectively.

Audrey Eu leadership (2006–2011)[edit]

2007 Chief Executive bid and 2008 LegCo election (2006–2008)[edit]

The Civic Party's first electoral test was its decision to run Alan Leong in the March 2007 "small circle" Chief Executive election, challenging incumbent Donald Tsang. The party and its ally actively fill candidates running in the 800-member December 2006 Election Committee Subsector elections and won more than 100 seats. Leong's winning sufficient nomination votes to enter the race was viewed as a breakthrough in what previously had been seen as an entirely Beijing-orchestrated process.[3] However a safe margin in the Election Committee to assure Donald Tsang re-election, Leong eventually lost by 123 to 649 votes as a result. In the November 2007 District Council elections, the party contested 42 constituencies. Five incumbents now under the Civic Party flag were re-elected, and three rookies picked up new seats.[3]

With a slate of widely respected legislators projecting an image of competence and ability, the Civic Party went into the September 2008 Legislative Council elections heavily favoured, with some pundits predicting they would take over as the flagship of the pan-democratic movement from what at the time seemed to be an ailing Democratic Party.[3] However, the party's results failed to match pre-election predictions. Ronny Tong only took the sixth out of seven seats in his constituency, Alan Leong the final seat. While the Civics won a new seat for District Councilor Tanya Chan Suk-chong by placing Audrey Eu after Chan in the candidate list in Hong Kong Island, Mandy Tam's internal battles with Accountancy functional constituency (FC) cost Tam her seat. In addition, Fernando Cheung's decision to give up his Social Welfare FC seat in favour of running in the New Territories West geographic constituency (GC) proved disastrous. Finally, Kowloon West GC candidate Claudia Mo Man-ching found herself under fierce attack by League of Social Democrats (LSD) chairman Raymond "Mad Dog" Wong Yuk-man, which the Civics believe cost Mo the election.[3] As a result, the Civic Party dropped one seat in total, while retaining the three seats in the geographical constituency and one seat in the Legal FC and also gaining a new seat in Hong Kong Island, but losing two seats in the Accountancy and Social Welfare FCs.

The Civic Party's 2008 electoral performance led most observers to conclude the party needed to rectify its weakness at the grassroots. At the party's 6 December internal elections, Professor Kuan Hsin-chi was re-elected chairman and Audrey Eu remained as Party Leader. Vice-Chairman Fernando Cheung and Treasurer Mandy Tam, however, resigned to take responsibility for their defeats. While Alan Leong replaced Cheung as vice-chairman, Cheung's duties as party strategist were picked up by Secretary-General Kenneth Chan Ka-lok. Tanya Chan was elected Chairman of the "Young Civics", the party's youth wing.[3]

Newly elected Civic Party Secretary-General Kenneth Chan suggested that the party should transformed from the elitist "barristers' club" image of the "blue-blooded" squad of barristers to a proper political party which could expand their base or groom the next generation of leaders for the party.[3]

"Five Constituencies Referendum" Movement (2009–2011)[edit]

The party was member of the Alliance for Universal Suffrage which consisted of all the pro-democracy groups to strive for the 2012 universal suffrage of the Chief Executive and Legislative Council. In response to the electoral reform package proposed by the government, the party joined hand with the League of Social Democrats, which belonged to the relatively radical wing the pan-democracy camp, to launch the "Five Constituency Referendum" by having five legislators resigning and participating in a territory-wide by-election to demand genuine universal suffrage. The claim of by-election as referendum expectedly received serve attacks from the Beijing government and the pro-Beijing camp in Hong Kong as unconstitutional.[4] The Democratic Party refused to join the movement and sought for a less confrontational way to negotiate with Beijing. The election turnout showed with only 17.7 percent of the registered voters voted despite Alan Leong and Tanya Chan were re-elected. After the by-election Chairwoman Audrey Eu was invited by the Chief Executive Donald Tsang to a televised debate over the reform package. Audrey Eu was widely perceived to have scored an overwhelming victory over Tsang in the debate,[4] yet the reform package was ultimately passed with the support of the Democratic Party despite Civic Party voted against it.

Alan Leong leadership (2011–2016)[edit]

2011/2012 elections (2011–2014)[edit]

In January 2011 party leadership elections, there was first changes at the top for the five-year-old party. Alan Leong took over from Audrey Eu as Party Leader uncontestedly, while Kenneth Chan beat Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek by an 11-vote margin after a heated campaign that saw some complaining about the fairness of the contest. Chan campaigned on a platform that was endorsed by most of the party veterans. Alan Leong denied the speculations of any intra-party factional struggle.[1]

In the 2011 District Council elections, the Civic Party was hammered by the pro-Beijing media due to its close ties with the legal advisers on the lawsuit of the right of abode for foreign domestic workers who represented one such Filipina.[5] The party was greatly disadvantaged by this as many HK residents fear granting Filipinos permanent residency would affect them.[6] The party received great defeat in the election with only seven out of 41 candidates were elected. Party leader Alan Leong blamed the pro-Beijing camp's vast resources as the cause of defeat.

The 2012 Legislative Council elections were held on 9 September 2012. Civic Party won a seat in each geographical constituency, five seats in total, and a seat in Legal functional constituency. These six seats made the Civic Party the second largest political party in Legislative Council and stood side by side with the Democratic Party as the largest pro-democratic party, though the popular votes gained by the Civics in the geographical constituency surpassed the Democrats. The party was blamed for its electoral strategy by putting heavyweights Audrey Eu and Tanya Chan in New Territories West and Hong Kong Island to attract too many votes at the expense on the other pan-democratic parties. Although both Eu and Chan received about 70,000 votes in their constituencies, they failed to get re-elected and the seats went to pro-Beijing candidates Leung Che-cheung and Wong Kwok-hing which made the pro-Beijing camp controlled the majority of the seats in those constituencies despite fewer votes.

Post-Umbrella Revolution (2014–2016)[edit]

On 22 June 2015, few days after the historic legislative vote over the 2015 Hong Kong electoral reform, Ronny Tong announced that he would quit the Civic party that he co-founded, adding that he noted the line the Civic Party had taken since the end of 2009 had deviated from its founding values. He would also resign from the Legislative Council as he said it was inappropriate for him to retain his seat in the legislature because he stood for election as a Civic Party member.[7]

In the 2015 District Council election, the CIvics won total of 10 seats, although legislator Kenneth Chan Ka-lok failed to win a seat in South Horizons East.

In Legislative Council by-election to fill the seat left vacant by Ronny Tong, Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu, a young barrister defeated Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) candidate Holden Chow Ho-ding and localist Hong Kong Indigenous candidate Edward Leung Tin-kei, receiving 160,880 votes.[8]

In the September's Legislative Council general election, the Civics retained all their six seats with Tanya Chan replaced Kenneth Chan in Hong Kong Island and Jeremy Tam took over retiring leader Alan Leong's seat in Kowloon East.

On 1 October 2016, as Alan Leong retired from the Legislative Council, he has also stepped down from the post of Party Leader, and the Executive Committee of the party appointed Alvin Yeung as the acting party leader. Yeung officially became the party leader in November, with Leong succeeding Audrey Eu as party chair. On 14 November 2016, the party's legislator Claudia Mo resigned from the party citing differences over localism and other issues which left the party five seats in the council.[9]

Structure[edit]

The party is managed by the twenty-member Executive Committee, headed by the chairman and Leader. It has five District Branches, and a youth branch known as the Young Civics.

The admittance of any new ordinary member must be backed by two existing ordinary members or founding members. In addition, a prospective member must complete local branch work for one year before being inducted as an ordinary member.

The party leading figures are:

  • Chairman: Alan Leong (2004–2016 Legislative Council Member for Kowloon East Constituency)
  • Leader: Alvin Yeung (Legislative Council Member for New Territories East Constituency since 2016)
  • External vice-chairman: Tanya Chan (2004–2008 and present Legislative Council Member for Hong Kong Island Constituency)
  • Internal vice-chairman: Bill Lay (Registered Social Worker)
  • Secretary-General: Chan Kai-yuen
  • Treasurer: Choy Kai-sing

Performance in elections[edit]

Chief Executive elections[edit]

Election Candidate No. of votes  % of votes
2007 Alan Leong
123 / 772
15.93

Legislative Council elections[edit]

Election Number of
popular votes
 % of
popular votes
GC
seats
FC
seats
Total seats +/− Position
2008 206,980Steady 13.66Steady 4 1
5 / 60
1Decrease 4thSteady
2012 255,007Increase 14.08Increase 5 1
6 / 70
1Increase 2ndIncrease
2016 207,855Decrease 9.59Decrease 5 1
6 / 70
0Steady 4thDecrease

District Council elections[edit]

Election Number of
popular votes
 % of
popular votes
Total
elected seats
+/−
2007 48,837Steady 4.29Steady
8 / 405
1Increase
2011 47,603Decrease 4.03Decrease
7 / 412
5Decrease
2015 52,346Increase 3.62Decrease
10 / 431
3Increase

Leadership[edit]

Leaders[edit]

Chairpersons[edit]

Vice-Chairpersons (External Affairs)[edit]

Vice-Chairpersons (Internal Affairs)[edit]

Secretaries General[edit]

Treasures[edit]

  • Mandy Tam Heung-man, 2006–2008
  • Amy Yung Wing-sheung, 2008–2011
  • Tommy Wong Wai-ming, 2011–2012
  • Choy Kai-sing, 2012–present

Deputy Secretary-General[edit]

  • Cheng Tat-hung, 2016–present

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Civic Party elects new leader, chairman". Radio Television Hong Kong. 8 January 2011. Retrieved 8 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Civic Party Limited by guarantee, and not having a share capital" (PDF). The Civic Party. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 May 2006. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "CIVIC PARTY: MOVING FROM FAN CLUB TO POLITICAL FORCE". WikiLeaks. 
  4. ^ a b Lee, Francis L. F.; Chan, Joseph M. (2010). Media, Social Mobilisation and Mass Protests in Post-colonial Hong Kong: The Power of a Critical Event. Routledge. 
  5. ^ Dioquino, Rose-An Jessica (8 November 2011). "Pro-domestic workers candidates lose in HK polls". GMA Network. Archived on 5 December 2011
  6. ^ "HK Pro-Democracy Parties to Review Strategy After Election Defeats". VOA News. Retrieved 20 November 2011. 
  7. ^ Cheung, Gary; Lam, Jeffie; Ng, Kang-chung (2015-06-22). "Tearful Ronny Tong quits as legislator hours after resigning from Civic Party amid rift in Hong Kong's pan-democratic camp". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 2015-06-22. 
  8. ^ "2016 Legislative Council Geographical Constituency New Territories By-election - Election Result". Electoral Affairs Commission. 29 February 2016. 
  9. ^ "Hong Kong lawmaker Claudia Mo resigns from Civic Party citing 'differences' over localism and other issues". South China Morning Post. 14 November 2016. 

External links[edit]