Basic Law's promulgators did not mention indirect elections | South China Morning Post
  • Thu
  • Mar 26, 2015
  • Updated: 12:56pm

Basic Law's promulgators did not mention indirect elections

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2008, 12:00am

I refer to Peter Lok's letter ('Indirect election a valid system', February 2).

Rather than 'people like (me)' trying to 'weasel' (my) way 'into equating 'universal suffrage' with 'direct elections' ', I am seeking to ferret out an idea of our 'ultimate aim', rather than to keep badgering the secretary for constitutional affairs.

Nowhere in the Basic Law is the word 'indirect' used.

If the Basic Law's promulgators had meant indirect elections - to use Mr Lok's logic - would they not have stated that specifically?

Unless it is generally accepted by omission, in much the same way that 'equal' is now generally accepted internationally, when applied to 'suffrage'.

I accept, as a matter of fact, that we already have indirect, unequal suffrage in our functional constituencies.

However, that situation is not enshrined in the Basic Law.

It can be changed. Annex I and II - referring to the methods of 'selecting' the chief executive and 'forming' the Legislative Council - have already provided the means to do so, after 2007, 'if there is a need'.

The 'ultimate aim' in both cases is by 'universal suffrage' and we have not yet reached that point.

Is there, then, a need to change the election in functional constituencies, since their present method is neither universal nor direct, or disband them completely?

The word equal in future suffrage is taken as accepted by the Hong Kong government - with one proviso, the spokesman's use of the word 'should'.

This generally expresses a future condition, with a sense of obligation, expectation or probability - but it also can be used as a tentative expression of opinion, that is, non-binding.

Perhaps this is what we should be seeking to decide - change the government expectation of should to will and amend the Basic Law, to include 'equal' with 'suffrage' for the Legislative Council. Much as I respect Mr Lok's right to a different opinion, I certainly feel the 'need' for a change.

Graham Warburton, Mid-Levels


For unlimited access to: SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



Login Account