Only the people can decide on reform: Civic Party's Alan Leong

The days of political deals done behind closed doors are over, says Alan Leong, promising he will follow popular demand for 2017 poll

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 August, 2013, 3:36am

Beijing and the Hong Kong government cannot expect to repeat what happened in the 2010 electoral reform negotiations when they won the support of some pan-democrats behind closed doors, according to the Civic Party leader.

Unlike in previous attempts to achieve electoral reform, this time it would depend on what the people wanted, not what was imposed on them, Alan Leong Kah-kit said.

The pan-democrats would insist that the reforms were acceptable to the people or they would not vote for them.

This would be determined by what the people said they wanted in an electronic voting exercise next year.

"If the conservatives win, we will have no alternative but to believe in the collective wisdom of the people," Leong said. "We do not see ourselves standing in the way of the people on the street."

Whatever the outcome, the government could rule out securing five or six pan-democrat votes in the council if it was a deal done in secret, he said. "Civil empowerment is the order of the day. Without that, it would be political suicide for any pan-democratic party to back the package.

"This reform is also going to deliver an ultimate model, which makes room for manoeuvring and compromise even smaller."

In 2010, the Democratic Party held talks with liaison officials about its reform package. But the negotiations, held behind closed doors, came under heavy attack by the radical faction.

Leong earlier said the Civic Party would cast its votes on the reform according to the results of "an objective, accurate and measurable mechanism". The electronic voting exercise is expected to be conducted by pollster Robert Chung Ting-yiu at the University of Hong Kong.

"It is going to be a competition for popular support," Leong said. "Once the race has started - and it has actually started - there will be no room for Beijing or the Hong Kong government to think it will stop and wait for them to catch up. They'd better join it before it is too late."

Leong said there were preliminary ideas on how the electronic voting would take place, and the Alliance for True Democracy, which comprises 26 pan-democratic lawmakers, could invite political scholars to devise a vetting mechanism of the choices that appear on the ballot paper.

He also urged the alliance, together with the Occupy Central campaign and Hong Kong 2020 - a moderate pro-democracy group chaired by former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang - to hold talks with the pollster as soon as was practicable.

"We will need a true reflection of public sentiment so that we can act on the result," the party leader said.