It’s time to focus on choosing the best chief executive for Hong Kong

Mark Pinkstone says the city’s next leader will have his or her work cut out, but the election committee can be relied on to choose the right person for the job

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 November, 2016, 12:03pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 November, 2016, 5:47pm

Hopefully, the start – on November 8 – of the nomination period for the election committee that will select Hong Kong’s chief executive will bring an end to the focus on lawmakers-elect Sixtus Leung Chung-hang and Yau Wai-ching. What a waste of time and taxpayers’ money. But they did force Beijing’s hand, which was obviously their objective to strengthen their cause.

Now, we need to get on to the business of electing the next chief executive. The first process, of course, is choosing the election committee of 1,200 from a broad cross-section of our community. The belief that the committee is a small circle of pro-Beijing patriots is a myth promulgated by the democratic camp.

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The figures speak for themselves: 1,200 members in four sectors, each with 300 voting members. The first three include the industrial, commercial and financial sectors; the professions, labour, social services, religious and other sectors. The fourth group is perhaps more controversial, as it includes Hong Kong deputies to the National People’s Congress, all Legco members, Hong Kong members of the CPPCC National Committee, members of the Heung Yee Kuk and all elected members of the district councils.

In fact, every facet of Hong Kong society is represented. It is not a small circle of pro-Beijing patriots as many claim. Practically everyone on the committee is “pro-Hong Kong” – willing to serve Hong Kong people. They will nominate and endorse a candidate they think is best suited for the top job. Of course, they must adhere to certain constraints: the nominated candidate must be loyal to Beijing and to the people of Hong Kong. That is natural in any sovereign state. None would allow a candidate who opposes its constitution. With the election committee in place next month, nominations will be called for the next chief executive.

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With each candidate requiring 150 votes to be considered, the contest will be limited to two or three. Those interested are already throwing their hats in the ring.

Hong Kong is now a shambles. The legislature has fallen apart, morale in the civil service is at an all-time low and the people are polarised and confused. We will need a strong chief executive to mend all of these; someone who has the trust of Beijing, above all the love of Hong Kong, and who knows the workings, and has the trust, of the civil service.

The person must be fair and impartial when dealing with the various factions within the legislature and must also have an open mind to hear their grievances. Only then can Hong Kong return to normality.

Mark Pinkstone, a former chief information officer with the civil service, is a freelance journalist