• Fri
  • Aug 22, 2014
  • Updated: 9:48pm
My Take
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 July, 2014, 4:54am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 July, 2014, 4:54am

Political reform starts with makeup of the nominating committee

For those fighting for "real" democracy, there are two stark choices. You either do it by brandishing public nomination. Or you fight to make the membership of the future nominating committee (NC) as democratically representative as possible.

We have wasted precious time and resources over public nomination. It's a dead end. Scholarism and the Federation of Students say it's that or nothing. Unfortunately, even moderate pan-democrats are pressured to support it. The much-weakened Democratic Party now plans to withdraw from the Alliance for True Democracy, whose version of public nomination won the most votes in Occupy Central's poll.

But beyond the noise and July 1 protests, think about what fighting for public nomination really means as a legislative process. As a proposal, it will never make it to Legco; and Beijing is certain to veto it in the almost impossible event that two-thirds of Legco approves it. So fighting for it means no reform and no universal suffrage. Even the most hardline Beijing stooges have a better offer.

Reforming the nominating committee remains the only viable route and it can accord with the pan-dems' aspirations. Let's start with the despised functional constituencies (FCs). These rotten boroughs exist not only in the legislature, but also in the election committee for the chief executive. Many of the subsectors within three of the committee's four sectors - businesses; professions; and labour, social services and religion - replicate FCs in Legco. Even the fourth, political sector, gives the Heung Yee Kuk representation, as Legco does.

The imperative is to avoid making the NC into another election committee. By reforming sector memberships, the NC can become a credible democratic institution. That same reform package can be used to redraw the distribution of FCs in the 2016 Legco election as a road map to phasing them out in the 2020 Legco election or thereafter. This is in line with the Basic Law and strictures from National People Congress' standing committee. So reforms of the 2016 and 2020 Legco elections and 2017 chief executive election are inextricably linked.

A democratically legitimate NC will also deal with the problem of pre-screening of chief executive candidates.

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This article is now closed to comments

ejmciii
He is right. And the easiest answer is to allow everyone who wants to run to register with some number of petitioners (50,000) to be on the ballot. Allow a inaugural where the winner says I will support HK and the Basic Law as determined under HK law, and there we go.
joyalsofi
Making the nomination committee a fair and democratically elected committee is a reasonable compromise for those seeking true democracy but as a compromise it can't be the starting point.
ejmciii
The basic law does not prohibit the normal people proposing candidates, Joy. Even if Beijing does not agree. Carrie Lam is not the final answer on what the Basic Law allows. She is way off in terms of what is allowed.
clc2
Whatever the outcome, the HK public wants a government that consults reasonably with Beijing without indulging in a orgy of expected and public ****-licking at the same time. That's been the basic problem with the Chief Executives and Legco's since return of the municipality to China in 1997.
Overall, the outcome has not been good for China, generally, or HK in particular.
blue
HK is a more than a municipality. I don't know of any municipalities that have their own tax collector, customs, legal system with courts, and immigration department. But yeah I totally agree with you otherwise.
chuchu59
I agree with Alex on hs proposal. However, it takes two to tango. Should Beijing/our local government not try to flesh out a proposal that excludes public nomination but distances it from the nominating committee in its present form? Its obvious that people want to have a genuine choice for the post of CE and not any Tom, **** or Harry that Beijing wants. I understand that Beijing has concerns that security may be threatened if some unwanted element is voted as CE after riding on a wave of populism but don't they have the power to veto a person to be CE if they have genuine concerns on him/her. Beijing could try to take the first step and set out a proposal in an attempt to bury the hatchet. Right now they wont budge on anything and are just hoping they get the final say on the nominating committee which will be roughly the same as the past 3 so-called elections.
Kailim
Alex Lo's proposal is very sensible and pragmatic. However I don't think that pan-democrats would accept it or even try to consider it.
Pan-democrats have not just been striving for the political betterment of Hong Kong but aiming at changing the mainland's politics and governance as well.
Up to now I still don't understand what is their 'international standards' regarding nomination of candidates. In America it's political parties nominate their candidates ostensibly, but in reality it's those deep-pocketed plutocrats capable of funding election campaigns nominate candidates. In Britain it's the political party having won the majority seats in the House of Commons appoints their party leader as prime minister. There seems to have no public nominations in the west.
For over 20 years pan-democrats have been and are still divided among themselves. They have not tried to unite and work hard to proofing their ability for governing Hong Kong. They have chosen to criticize severely and sometimes irrationally the government by fully making use of the public sentiment of negative mentality. Some American politicians have been using this tactics successfully as the public normally would believe in any adverse comments and criticism against government.
I don't think most of the pan-democrats really aspire for the chief executive position or even a senior post in the government.
I hope we will have healthy and true democracy in the near future.
blue
Public nomination certainly is available in the USA in theory. In reality, no US president, who was nominated via public nomination, has ever won an election. I don't think HK needs public nomination to have genuine universal suffrage. But the Nominating Committee can't be like Iran's Guardian Council.
syn
Wow, i can't believe I'm saying this, but, agreed. Functional Constituencies are the poison in the well and always have been.
blue
"No reform and no universal suffrage is better than phony democracy."

Agreed. Ultimately it'll be Beijing that'll feel the pain and loss of face. Don't they want to show Taiwan that they aren't mouth frothing control freaks?

Just give HK the kind of democracy that the British Virgin Islands or Cayman Islands have! Both are part of a unitary state just like HK! Neither place has declared independence. Both places have a form of democracy that meets international standards. The UK certainly has some veto powers on reserve, but so would Beijing.

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