• Thu
  • Sep 18, 2014
  • Updated: 11:01pm

Universal Suffrage

The Hong Kong Chief Executive election of 2017 will pick the top official of Hong Kong for the fifth term. According to the National People's Congress Standing Committee's resolution in 2007, the election may be implemented by the method of universal suffrage. Pan-democratic lawmakers and pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong have protested strongly against an election framework passed by Beijing on August 31, 2014, saying it fails to reach international standards for a truly democratic and open election. They have vowed to veto it in the Legislative Council and organise a series of street protests known as Occupy Central.

CommentInsight & Opinion

Imperfect electoral model is still a step forward

PUBLISHED : Monday, 01 September, 2014, 3:40am
UPDATED : Monday, 01 September, 2014, 9:53am

In a controversial ruling delivered in Beijing yesterday, the National People's Congress Standing Committee set out a stringent framework for electing Hong Kong's chief executive in 2017. True, the arrangements are not as democratic as many would have liked. But the resolution made by the highest state organ is constitutionally binding on Hong Kong. For one person, one vote to be achieved, the city has no choice but to follow the rules. Imperfect as it is, the model is still a step forward. It is in the city's interest to adopt the change and strive for further improvements in future.

Those who have been fighting for free democratic elections are understandably outraged by the ruling, which mandates a nomination threshold of over 50 per cent from a committee that dovetails the existing 1,200-member panel to choose the chief executive. Pan-democrats branded the system as fake universal suffrage, saying it was designed to screen out hopefuls Beijing dislikes, and does not give voters a genuine free choice. But Beijing insists that the 2017 ballot has national security implications. The city, it says, cannot return a leader who works against the state or is open to foreign influence. Whether a pan-democrat chief executive would necessarily compromise national interest and security is open to debate. But Beijing thinks otherwise and insists on a zero-risk electoral model. It also stopped short of saying changes after 2017 were possible.

That a pan-democrat candidate will now have a slim chance to come forward may well be the case. Occupy Central is also likely to happen. The campaign seeks to push Beijing for democracy by threatening to paralyse the city's business district. But Beijing not only remains unyielding, it went further to cut short the tussle by imposing stringent rules for the city.

Opponents have vowed to push ahead with the civil disobedience movement. The likely confrontations do not bode well for the reform, which needs two-thirds support from the legislature. Despite suggestions that the committee is still open to fine-tuning, pan-democrats say compromise is impossible.

There are two choices - accept the model to achieve one person, one vote; or veto it and live with the old system. Idealists will opt for the latter, saying the rules fall short of international standards on democratic ballots. Pragmatists will opt for a step forward. The public can still voice their opinion in the second-stage consultation. Their views will have an impact on lawmakers' voting decision. On the road to democracy, progress is always preferable to a standstill.


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This article is now closed to comments

Formerly ******
Yeah, one step closer to a communist dictatorship, same as in the People's Republic of China. Communism is and always has been for those who are willing to murder those who disagree with the communists or those who expect the communists to have a fair and equitable society.
Why is the new model a "step forward" at all? The nomination threshold would rise from 12.5% to 50%. Albert Ho was able to stand for Chief Executive last time, albeit with no chance of winning.
Does the editor really think pan-democrat compliance would be a step on the "road to democracy"? All it would do is collude in a North Korean-style sham.
obviously the CCP only thinks short term.. they dont even know whether they will still be relevant in 5 or 10 years time..
The proposed universal suffrage is better than anything they have in the US or Britain. The US and Britain instead of condemning it should actually adopt it for themselves considering that the elections in the US have been stolen or bought and that you have a non-representative system in the UK. Instead of a hereditary feudal good for nothing monarch, shouldn't the British put their money where their mouth is and have an elected head of state? What kind of double standards, lies and s h I t democracy these hypocrites are talking about? HK even without absolute universal suffrage is a lot more democratic than those sham democracies where elections are stolen or bought or where there is no election for the head of state and half of parliament. Really disgusting hypocrites.
Hilarious! Been on the wacky baccy again have we, "Mikado"?
Do an informal referendum and ask the public to make the choice: move forward with this half bake proposal or stay with the status quo until something acceptable is proposed.
Even if universal suffrage is approved for this current proposal, it does not stop the people from abstaining to vote. The CE elected may still not have the majority mandate of the HK people!
Wang Xiangwei
Dung Fong Hung
Comrade Wang appointed SCMP editor 31/1/2012
Comrade Censor 20/6/2012
Comrade Under Orders
H.K.'s SCMP editor under fire as press freedom 'shrinks'
The first China-born editor of Hong Kong's flagship English-language paper admits he made a "bad call" in cutting coverage of a mainland dissident's death, but denies he is a stooge for Beijing.
Comrade CPPCC Qualified
It is worth to note that the chief editor Wang Xiangwei of the English-language South China Morning Post (SCMP), was until last January a member of CPPCC of Jilin province.
His appointment in 2012 came not long after then SCMP CEO Kuok ****-kwong’s one-on-one meeting in Beijing with China’s then Hong Kong & Macau Affairs Office director Wang Guangya.
how do you define "a step forward"?
A CE hopeful needed 12.5% support from the nominating comittee in the past but 50% in 2017, not to mention how the comittee is formed.
It's OK
they are going to 'elect' smiling Rita Fan GPM, CBE (Golden Puppet Muppet) ............as 2017 new top dog
but hey, just assuming China did an about face (not), where is the local talent to fulfill the CE job ? There is none that I can see.
Bowtie should be in jail by then on Misconduct in public office charges & CY has been an unmitigated disaster
We actually need a smart Mainlander sent here to take charge, assuming that Xi Jin Ping has by then had the rest of the Mainland incumbents arrested for corruption
Shame on the editors of the South China Morning Post, who have once again revealed their true red colors where their hearts lie.




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