Resolve election debate quickly without public nomination

PUBLISHED : Friday, 16 May, 2014, 3:03am
UPDATED : Friday, 16 May, 2014, 3:03am

It is time to delink the antagonism about democracy with the concept of patriotism. They are not mutually exclusive.

If Hong Kong is granted its wish to elect its own local government and leader, no matter how ideologically out of step with the Chinese Communist Party, the bulk of the antagonism will fade away and we can all get back to the business of nurturing our mutual interests with the mainland and making our contribution to building a better world.

The constitutional debate will appear, in hindsight, to have been a tremendous distraction. I dare say even lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung would turn out to be a very different man once his democratic fervour had been muted in this way.

Complex proposals have been submitted to the government. Mine is simple. The Basic Law has established the nominating committee as a fundamental part of the election process; it must remain.

It must be democratic, that is, it must be a fair representation of the broad community, with eradication of all "functional" or sector representatives.

Entitle each democratically elected legislative and district councillor to constitute the nominating committee, some 500-odd persons. This eliminates a huge amount of wasted manpower, bureaucracy and time inevitable in all other methods proposed.

Allow any committee member to put forward a chief executive candidate of their choosing who is a Hong Kong permanent resident, 18 or over, with no criminal record (except those covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Ordinance).

On one round of voting by the nominating committee, those receiving at least 10 per cent of the votes counted are endorsed as candidates for chief executive and put to the electorate for their ultimate choice. The chief executive must receive at least 50 per cent of the vote; hold a run-off election if no one achieves 50 per cent in the first round.

I do not support public nomination as a part of the nominating committee process for three reasons.

Firstly, it is plainly in contravention of the Basic Law. Secondly, it is unnecessary for the achievement of true democracy. Thirdly, and most importantly, it would be arduous for the electorate because it means there would be, typically, four stages to getting our chief executive elected: public nomination, nominating committee choice, first and second plebiscites.

Now is the time to be courageous and serve Hong Kong. Miss this chance and deny democracy, and Hong Kong will be sentenced to many dark days ahead.

Malcolm I'Anson, Wan Chai