Selection process limits mooted
NO KWAI-YAN in Beijing
The role of the Preparatory Committee and its office-bearers in the selection process for the post-1997 chief executive could be restricted to avoid fears of manipulation.
At the end of its first two-day meeting, the committee's sub-group on the chief executive said the body's job was to preside over the selection, and the chairman and vice-chairmen were to organise the work.
Cheng Yiu-tong, a sub-group member and legislator, said the committee's duty should be restricted only to looking after the selection process, vetting the candidates' qualifications and receiving complaints.
The selection process should be left to the 400-member Selection Committee to be formed around October, he said.
Mr Cheng said: 'My feeling is that the chairmen's meeting will have a lot of involvement in the process. This will give people an impression that it can even influence the selection result.' His colleague Frederick Fung Kin-kee echoed the view that the job of the Preparatory Committee should be clearly defined to ensure no discriminatory treatment during the selection process.
He said the role of the committee should be similar to that of the present Government in elections.
It should handle matters such as preparation of the nomination forms, set out election rules and check qualifications, Mr Fung said.
It is understood that mainland officials argued the committee had the power to get involved in any matters relating to the selection.
However, they agreed it was important to prevent the committee from getting involved in the consultation process over chief executive candidates.