Pan-democrats push for broader election panel
Screening candidates may be palatable if nominating body is truly representative
The pan-democrats could accept a screening mechanism for the 2017 chief executive poll only if the representation on the future nominating committee was broad enough to include all voters in Hong Kong, the convenor of a coalition said.
The Alliance for True Democracy, comprising all 27 pan-democratic lawmakers, made its first political statement on Wednesday by rejecting veteran democrat Martin Lee Chu-ming's electoral reform proposal. On Thursday, Lee retracted his proposal, saying it was rash, and cited the alliance's statement as correct.
Lee proposed that at least five candidates be admitted into the 2017 race, allowing at least one pan-democrat to compete.
But, for the next election, this would mean accepting a 1,200-strong nominating committee, which would be modelled on the current Election Committee.
Candidate-hopefuls would be selected by the upcoming committee "as a whole", as was suggested last month by Qiao Xiaoyang , chairman of the National People's Congress Law Committee.
Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, a political scientist at City University, said the coalition felt "very strongly against the proposal", despite Lee's high standing within the democratic movement.
"If you set all types of limits on the choices [for the contest], it won't be an election," Cheng, who was speaking as convenor of the alliance, told the South China Morning Post. "Hong Kong people are fighting for their basic rights, not [political] entry for the pan-democrats."
Cheng said the pan-democrats fully supported the Basic Law, but the central government must be consistent in its views and decisions in regards to the city's mini-constitution.
"You can not selectively apply certain aspects of the Basic Law and interpret the Basic Law to suit your way," he said, noting Article 45 also sought to establish "a broadly representative" nominating committee.
"Why don't you let all the voters in Hong Kong choose the nominating committee? Only then can you call it broadly representative and we could accept it."