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Group to forge 2017 consensus

Anson Chan setting up Hong Kong 2020 body to produce plan for universal suffrage that will be acceptable to Beijing and the business sector

PUBLISHED : Friday, 19 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 19 April, 2013, 3:44am
 

Former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang will launch a group next week to devise a universal suffrage plan that will pass muster with both Beijing and the business sector.

The group will open an office from where its members will lobby for support - particularly from the business sector, whose backing will be critical to achieving full democracy.

It is understood that the group will likely be launched next Wednesday and former Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Wing-tat will be in charge of the office.

"I will take part in Mrs Chan's group and become a member. But you better ask her about further details," Lee said.

Tentatively named Hong Kong 2020, the group has been modelled on the Citizens' Commission on Constitutional Development, which Chan founded in 2008 to facilitate public discussion on political reform.

Chan's contribution to the heated universal suffrage debate has, to date, been conciliatory and pragmatic.

At a seminar early this month, she said it was reasonable for Beijing to expect Hong Kong's chief executive to refrain from challenging China's one-party rule.

And Hongkongers did not want to see a leader who had been elected by universal suffrage unable to work with the central government.

Chan, who was a lawmaker from 2007 to 2008, made the remarks two weeks after the National People's Congress Law Committee chairman Qiao Xiaoyang said that those who "confront the central government" would be ineligible to become chief executive.

A spokeswoman for Chan's office said she would not comment, but that an announcement would be made soon.

Professor Johannes Chan Man-mun, dean of the University of Hong Kong's law faculty, is also believed to be in the group.

But Democratic Party founding chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming, who last week retracted his proposal for the 2017 chief executive election a day after putting it forward, said he would not join Chan's group.

He had suggested that at least five candidates be allowed to join the 2017 race, meaning one pan-democrat, at least, could vie for the city's top job.

But that would have meant accepting a nominating committee of 1,200, which would be formed based on the existing election committee, and candidates would be nominated by the committee "as a whole" - as suggested by Qiao.

In 2006 Chan put together a core group to devise a road map for introducing universal suffrage. The following year, the group proposed that the electorates of the Legislative Council functional constituency seats be broadened and the sectors regrouped in 2008. It also suggested all 60 Legco members be directly elected in 2012.

 

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