Universal suffrage

Martin Lee must be flexible

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 May, 2013, 3:22am


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I refer to the article by Martin Lee Chu-ming ("The long wait", May 1).

Mr Lee wrote about his favourite subject, democracy in Hong Kong.

He said, "Why must I see democracy before I close my eyes and go to heaven?" and went on pessimistically to say that the nomination process for the chief executive election in 2017 "will be controlled through a committee that will only nominate two or three 'puppets' selected by Beijing".

Even before the government's consultation on the 2017 election has begun, Mr Lee seems to have this crystal ball and already feels he knows what the 2017 election committee will be like and what it will do.

In the meantime, the chairman of the Democratic Party, Emily Lau Wai-hing, does not seem to have the same crystal ball as Mr Lee. In an interview with Elsie Leung Oi-sie, vice-chairwoman of the national legislature's Basic Law Committee ("Leung open to keeping poll threshold", May 1), she asked Ms Leung's opinion about retaining for the 2017 chief executive election the one-eighth threshold used in the 2012 nomination process. Ms Leung did not rule it out.

The Election Committee for the 2012 chief executive poll had 1,200 members; the threshold for getting nominated was set at 150 votes, which was one-eighth of the total nominators. Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan comfortably got nominated with that threshold.

If the pan-democrats can unite and suggest to the government that the 2017 committee - whatever its number of members - should be of the same composition as the 2012 committee and the threshold for nomination should not rise from the one-eighth requirement, then it would be very difficult for the government and even the central government to turn down this suggestion.

Some of the pan-democrats seem to view a screening process for the 2017 chief executive candidate nomination as undemocratic. In all Western democracies, there are different screening processes for presidential or prime ministerial elections.

The pan-democrats have no grounds to oppose a screening process unless it is designed to keep even a single democratic candidate from being nominated.

Would Mr Lee, before he goes to heaven, try to work with his democratic colleagues on something which is practical for the democratic movement of Hong Kong? Try to get the 2017 chief executive election committee, and the threshold for nomination, right.

Alex Woo, Tsim Sha Tsui