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  • Dec 19, 2014
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CommentLetters

Pan-democrats must have realistic election model

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 September, 2013, 3:07am

I refer to the report ("Voting exercise may include government reform proposal", September 9).

The article reported that the Alliance for True Democracy will hold an electronic referendum next year and will decide which proposal towards universal suffrage it will endorse based on the referendum results. So far the alliance has come up with three models of nominating the chief executive candidate in the 2017 election.

One model is to form a 2017 nomination committee with the same composition as the 1,200-member Election Committee in the 2012 chief executive election, and add all district councillors to make up a number of 1,500 members.

Any prospective 2017 candidate who can get 10 per cent of the votes of this nomination committee qualifies as a chief executive candidate.

Another model involves civil nomination, which means the nomination committee's members have to be elected by a certain number of registered voters. The third is forming a 500-strong nomination committee consisting of all legislators and district councillors.

The alliance said it would include the government's political reform proposal in its referendum. Based on the present pace at which the government is proceeding, officials may not have any proposal ready when the alliance holds its referendum early next year.

None of the three models proposed is likely to be accepted by the central government.

Of the three, the first is the one closest to what may be accepted. It proposes a 1,200-member nomination committee with the same composition as the 1,200 Election Committee for the 2012 chief executive election.

If the alliance proposes a fourth model along this line, enlarges the committee to 1,500 but excludes the district councillors, and specifies that the nomination threshold for any prospective candidate to qualify for the 2017 election be set at 181, or one-eighth of the committee's members, the chances of this model being accepted by the central government are very high.

Instead of dreaming up nomination models which meet "international standards" of democracy, wouldn't it make more sense for the pan-democrats to come up with a nomination method which adheres to the Basic Law, and which would let at least one pan-democrat have a chance to qualify as a candidate in the 2017 election?

If the pan-democrats insist that it is their way or no way, we will not have universal suffrage for this election.

Alex Woo, Tsim Sha Tsui

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This article is now closed to comments

impala
Mr Woo does not understand the idea of universal suffrage very well. Universal suffrage includes both active and passive suffrage for all. That is to say: all can vote, and all can run for office.

Now sure, there has to be some minimum threshold for those who want to run for office, as we don't want ballots the size of phone books. This is mainly a practical consideration though, and should NOT become a political one. A minimum required number of signatures, a party-primary process, or something along those lines that means we thin out the number of candidates to some manageable number.

The selection of candidates by an unelected committee of which the members are overwhelmingly appointed by those with vested economic interests and current political power, is not universal suffrage. Any such system in which it is conceivable that (pan-Dem or not) candidates who do enjoy significant popular support get denied a place on the ballot because their views are not aligned with those of the establishment, is not genuine democracy. It would be a fig leaf for it, with a rigged and foregone conclusion: the DAB candidate will win, because any potentially serious rivals won't be even allowed to stand.

That is not a 'our way or no way' position. Various options exist, but there must be an electoral system put in place that constitutes real universal suffrage ('all can vote AND run'), resulting in a plurality of candidates that reflects society's political diversity.

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