ADPL aims to bolster grass-roots support
Dikky Sinn and Ambrose Leung
The middle-of-the-road, pro-democracy Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood plans to field about 40 members in district council elections next year in a bid to strengthen grass-roots support.
It also plans to inject new blood into the polls, putting up 10 young candidates drawn from areas in the Kowloon West legislative constituency and five from other areas.
Chairman Frederick Fung Kin-kee said yesterday he expected a success rate of 80 per cent, or 32 seats, in the district polls.
The party now has 24 district councillors out of its 110 members.
Mr Fung said the party was now teaming second-tier candidates with older members under a mentor system for district work.
He admitted the party had a fight on its hands seeking extra seats and would have to take on candidates from non-democratic parties.
'There are no new seats in [most] district councils. It's inevitable that we have to compete with existing district councillors. We will have to adjust our election strategy to avoid competing directly with democratic district councillors,' the legislator said.
'We've started negotiations with the pro-democracy camp and we haven't found any clashes yet.'
Mr Fung said the party wanted to strengthen its base and influence in Kowloon West so as to have stronger bargaining power with the government. It also wanted to gain more support in Tuen Mun and Wong Tai Sin.
About 40 members will attend a retreat in Guangdong this weekend, where they will discuss the party's position and election strategy, as well as economic ties between the Pearl River Delta and Hong Kong.
Meanwhile, a pro-Beijing unionist legislator proposed yesterday that a new middle-of-the-road labour party should be formed to push for gradual democratic change while still being able to communicate with the central government and upholding workers' rights.
Kwong Chi-kin, of the Federation of Trade Unions, said Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen was incapable of coming up with 'a future' for constitutional reform and neither could the democrats and pro-Beijing parties.
'The only hope lies with a labour party which could communicate with Beijing,' he said.
Apart from fighting for labour rights, the party's platform would focus on eliminating the 30 functional constituencies in the legislature. After this it would create a system for advance screening of chief executive candidates who would then contest a direct election to give Beijing peace of mind.
Mr Kwong said he was approaching several legislators and academics, and a few had responded positively. Those being targeted were independent democrats.