Reforms backed but not understood: poll

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 December, 2009, 12:00am

The first comprehensive survey of public attitudes to the latest consultation document on political reform has found more supporters of the government's tentative proposals than opponents.

The survey of 1,001 people, conducted by the University of Hong Kong and sponsored by Now TV, found that 35 per cent supported the proposals, while 32 per cent opposed them. However, 68 per cent said they knew few details. Only 8 per cent felt they fully understood them.

The government suggested enlarging the Election Committee that will vote in the next chief executive in 2012 from 800 to 1,200. This received support from 43 per cent of those surveyed, with 31 per cent opposed.

It also suggested adding 10 Legislative Council seats, five of which would be functional constituency seats elected by district councillors. That received support from 43 per cent, with 23 per cent opposed to it.

Pan-democrats oppose the proposals. The distribution of the extra Election Committee seats to pro- establishment sectors would mean that the proportion of members likely to vote for a pan-democrat candidate would decrease. Pan-democrats also say that adding five functional constituency seats is a worrying indication that trade-based seats could be retained in the long term.

Civic Party leader Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said the poll highlighted her concerns that unless there was a de facto referendum on the proposals, during which pan-democrats could explain their concerns, they would lose the publicity battle. 'We are extremely worried that if we just sit there and vote against it, the public will not understand why.'

Democratic Party vice-chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing said the fact that only 8 per cent understood the document 'disqualified' the other findings.

The League of Social Democrats and the Civic Party support the resignation of a pan-democrat lawmaker from each of the five geographical constituencies to initiate a de facto referendum on universal suffrage.