Aron Kwok, a key member of Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions who will compete the seat in the upcoming District Council election, talks to China Daily in an exclusive interview on Thursday. (PHOTO / CHINA DAILY)
Aron Kwok Wai-keung, a candidate for the upcoming District Council election who was first elected in 2007, is hoping to successfully win his contest for the fourth time. Being a key member of Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions — the biggest trade federation in the city — Kwok is also a legislative councilor, representing the Hong Kong Island geographical constituency.
Speaking in an interview with China Daily just three days before polling day, he expressed hope that the election will go ahead on Sunday as scheduled. If the situation then remains much the same as it has been in the past day or two, with no chaos and serious traffic jams, the election should go on according to plan, he said.
Kwok will face two opponents this time — Chan Duncan and Lam Sze-nam.
“This is the first major election since violent protests against the now-withdrawn extradition bill broke out in June. And for the first time in the history of District Council elections, all the 452 constituencies will be contested elections, and this is a de-facto plebiscite for the voters to air their views on the current social and political situation,” he said.
If the pro-establishment camp were to end up on the losing side, I am afraid that the violent protests will persist
Kwok Wai-keung, a candidate for the Provident Constituency and a legislative councilor
“If we, the pro-establishment camp, retain more or less the same number of seats and votes (with a standard deviation of plus or minus 20 percent) as we did four years ago, the message will be very clear that most Hong Kong citizens would like to see peace, law and order again, and so the protesters should stop their violence and sabotage.
“However, if the pro-establishment camp were to end up on the losing side, I am afraid that the violent protests will persist,” Kwok said.
Results anyone’s guess
Kwok believes the pro-establishment camp generally wants the election to go ahead on Sunday. “First, our candidates have done a lot of electioneering work and do not want to delay the election. Second, it is our assessment that if the election is postponed, the social atmosphere would become more inflammatory,” he said.
As far as Kwok knows, the ‘‘pan-democrats” in the opposition camp also want the Sunday election as planned because they think they can win — and win overwhelmingly.
“The ‘pan-democrats’ have no incentive to spoil the election because they think they will win. They worry the diehard protesters may spoil it, but the warriors are not within control of the ‘pan-democrats’,” he said.
“The opposition camp has always openly asked the government not to delay or cancel the election, but this message is intended for the diehards, not the government.”
As he has noticed, not many “diehard protesters” have got involved in this district election. So it remains basically a duel between the two rival pro-establishment and ‘pan-democratic’ camps.
There are over 200 district council members in the pro-establishment camp. If the pro-establishment camp wins more seats than it did the last term, there will be a clearer public opinion that violent protests and disruptions should stop. “However, there is still work to be done even if we win, such as reconciliation, review of the current systems, and especially the reason why young people and students lack awareness of the rule of law,” he said.
HONG KONG NEWS