Candidate backing by district councils could make 2017 election fairer

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 3:36am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 3:36am

I commend Paul Serfaty for his letter ("Compromise needed in chief executive nomination process", February 7)" urging public discussions on the 2017 chief executive election.

His suggestion comes at a time when dialogue between Beijing and the pan-democrats has reached an impasse; when political strife escalates day by day and Hong Kong people feel gloomy about the future. His insightful proposals set a good example to people concerned with the city's well-being.

They provide food for thought in drawing up a blueprint of nominations of candidates - the bone of contention among the pan-democrats. While I support the suggestion that the nominating committee should confirm candidates nominated by five sizeable political parties, the requirement for them to be nominated by 100,000 electors entails practical difficulties such as the verification of voters' identities and possible jockeying among political factions.

I suggest another requirement for candidates to be nominated by two-thirds of the 18 district councils. The councils, whose members are returned by universal suffrage, are viable public bodies in our political system. A candidate endorsed by some 12 district councils would ensure indisputable representation of Hong Kong voters, which may remove the democrats' fear of unequal representation.

Mr Serfaty also suggested conditions for denying confirmation of candidates, such as verifiable public intent to make Hong Kong independent of China. Many local celebrities, including those who ran in the 1997 chief executive elections, could easily meet the stipulated conditions.

The Electoral Affairs Commission, in reviewing the candidates' qualifications, should consider their personal strengths before making its final recommendations. Based on the performance of the three chief executives since 1997, candidates should possess:

  • Administrative experience and the ability to command respect and co-operation from the civil service;
  • Proven integrity in providing public service;
  • Vision and an open mind for initiating effective public policies; and
  • A good grasp of political sensitivity, which Hong Kong has yet to see.

Hong Kong can look towards Barack Obama who pledges making changes for America "at all cost", and Xi Jinping, who advocates the "China dream". But, increasingly, demanding electors seeking practical results of those promises criticise these leaders for their empty promises. It behoves the nominating committee to live up to its mission of producing suitable candidates who will guide Hong Kong through the turbulent years ahead.

Patsy Leung, Mid-Levels