As we monitor and record the resignation of District Council members, what are the thoughts of Hong Kong people, especially supporters of the pro-democracy camp?
On July 9, the opinion survey of the “We Hongkongers” opinion group released by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (HKPORI) invited their panel members to respond to three questions:
1. On whether to swear allegiance or to resign?
- Only 29% of the pro-democracy supporters think that the pro-democracy district councillors should “take oath to remain in office.” 41% think that they should “reject the oath and resign directly”, 30% have no opinion.
2. Whether to hold by-elections as soon as possible?
- 39% of the pro-democracy supporters agree that the government should ‘conduct by-elections as soon as possible”, 29% disagree, and 33% have no opinion.
3. Participate in a by-election?
- 41% of the pro-democracy supporters believe that the pro-democracy should “participate in the by-elections.” 38% disagree and 21% have no opinion.
- On the whole, regardless of political orientation, 43% of the respondents believe that pro-democracy District Councillors should “take oath to remain in office”, 44% agree that the government should “conduct by-elections as soon as possible”, and 49% believe that pan-democrats should “participate in by-elections”.
- It is worth noting that in response to changes in the political environment, 24%, 29%, and 18% of the three respective questions returned with “don’t know/ have no opinion/it’s hard to tell”, such numbers higher than those of similar surveys. It may reflect the interviewees’ sense of unfamiliarity with the way the government conducts elections in the future, making it more difficult to make judgments on their part.
- A further cross-analysis showed that among those who believe that the pan-democrats should resign, 61% of them believed that the government should not conduct by-elections, while 83% also opposed the pan-democrats’ participation in the by-elections.
- However, among those who believe that the democratic parties should take the oath, 78% of them believe that the government should conduct by-elections to fill the vacant seats, and 90% also agree that the pan-democrats should participate in the by-elections.
- Among the respondents who think that the government should conduct by-elections to fill the vacant seats, 47% also agree that the democrats should participate in the by-elections. On the contrary, only 14% of those who think that the government should not conduct by-elections think that if they were to be held, pan-democrats should participate (24% disagree, and the rest have no opinion, no idea, hard to say).
- These three sets of cross-analysis reflect logically valid judgments and orientations that Hong Kongers can make under the condition of free will.
- Under the current political context, elections are set up with various barriers: National Security Law; mechanism for candidate eligibility review ; oath-taking lists (positive and negative); as well as relevant laws to punish de-facto referendums and other activities such as blank voting/active non-voting. Moreover, administrative organs’ boycott of the District Councils deals the pan-democrats an absolute disadvantage. It is therefore expected that the pan-democrats’ chance of being elected in the future is extremely slim. Nevertheless, in the case of a government that insists on overthrowing the results of the 2019 District Council election, continuing to refuse by-elections is one of the means to suppress the opponent’s political space.
- As the next full Legislative Council consists only of 20 directly elected seats from the 10 newly assigned geographical constituencies, if the citizens are allowed to elect hundreds of District Councillors in the 18 District Councils directly, unwanted tension (between the Hong Kong Government in Central and popular opinion in respective district) may be created. The 6th District Council Election in 2019 is sadly likely to be the last genuine election.
(For full survey results, please visit: https://www.pori.hk/…/PORI_PC_20210709_ggpi_vhkr_eng.pdf or Press Here to download)