• Sun
  • Dec 28, 2014
  • Updated: 2:15am
NewsHong Kong

Elsie Leung advocates keeping to 'reasonable number' of chief executive candidates

Pro-Beijing heavyweight weighs in on debate over how to choose candidates to stand in first fully democratic election for chief executive

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 September, 2013, 4:54am

Elsie Leung Oi-sie has joined the debate about how to choose candidates for the next chief executive election in 2017.

Leung, vice-chairwoman of the national legislature's Basic Law Committee, said granting voters the right to nominate candidates could end up usurping the power of the nominating committee required under the Basic Law.

She also said it was worth considering limiting the field of candidates to a "reasonable number".

There has been debate recently about the idea of "civil nomination", under which candidates would be allowed to run for the city's top job if they secured the support of a sufficient number of voters.

But Leung, speaking at a private lunch held by the pro-government Hong Kong Women's Development Association to discuss the Basic Law and universal suffrage, asked: "If [a person has] secured as many as 100,000 nominations, does it mean the nominating committee must approve him as a candidate? Some think this proposal would usurp the power of the nomination committee.

"A universal right to stand for election is not equivalent to a universal right to be qualified as a [chief executive candidate]."

According to the Basic Law, any chief executive candidate must be nominated by a "broadly representative" nominating committee in accordance with "democratic procedures". But the mini-constitution does not spell out the details.

Various pan-democratic parties and groups have been discussing proposals for civil nomination and whether they should make that a prime goal of their push for electoral reform. Student-led group Scholarism has demanded it be a requirement for the election that all 3.5 million registered voters form the nominating committee.

Supporters of civil nomination say it would ensure fairness and that whoever wins the election had a mandate.

But Leung, also a former secretary for justice, said civil nomination could bloat the number of candidates and jeopardise the effectiveness of the election. "If there are too many candidates, it cannot be guaranteed that at least one of them would get over half of the votes," she said.

Mainstream pan-democratic groups have thrown their weight behind civil nomination.

The Democratic Party, the Labour Party and the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood said they supported civil nomination as a means of selecting candidates. But they have refused to sign up to Scholarism's demand.

These parties say they want to consult the public more widely.

Labour Party lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan said civil nomination would give Hongkongers confidence that individuals can stand for election as long as they have received broad support. But she said: "It should not be the only means of nomination."

Democratic Party vice-chairman Richard Tsoi Yiu-cheong said the nomination threshold should not be too high.

Professor Chan Kin-man, a core organiser of the Occupy Central democracy campaign, said civil nomination was in line with democratic standards internationally, but further discussion was needed.

Beijing-friendly legislator Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, meanwhile, said civil nomination was inconsistent with the Basic Law.


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

It is not about how many candidates will there be. That will sort itself out because of the cost and expense of running a campaign and whether one's platform is different enough to attract support. What it is about, and thankfully we have Ms. Leung to tell us, is Beijing's desire to run the election according to its desires and make sure that HK people come to the "right" decision. If HK people choose someone who does not embody the virtues Beijing treasures-obedience to the Masters, limiting discussion and debate in favor of pursuing Beijing's initiatives and a willingness to repress those with differing views, there will be disharmony. Thanks for the heads up, Elsie. Now run along, your masters are calling on line 1.
Dai Muff
One of these days Elsie Leung will have something relevant to say. I am not holding my breath.
For people who advocate that there should be hundreds of candidates for the position of CE, have they ever thought of who has the time to read through all the materials that will have to be go through in order to make an intellectual decision as to whom to vote for? Not only time but the ability to do so. Can you also imagine the confusion that will causes to the older voters? I am not even talking of the Basic Law or Central Government. I think we need to be practical in our suggestions.
Another Social Critics...
Totally Agreed on At Least Two to Reasonable Number of Candidates!!!
Seeing...Two Candidates Only...Then
That 'CY' had got its present Position thru 'Deceit' in its Campaign with Henry Tong Only, with more or less 'Scandals based on Facts' Involved...And
Its Related Group is Stepping Down One by One, based on their 'Scandals based on Facts' in Remains of their Positions...
Abuse of Power, Manipulation for Self-Profiteering, Triad Involvement...Evidenced Already!!!
Embezzlement, Bribery, Corruption...More Informers be Needed Only!!!
That 'CY' & Its Related Group is NOT 'Loving China', or NOT even to say 'Loving HongKong'...
They are All just Profiteers trying their very Best in present Positions, in Utilizing the Shortest Time, in Squeezing/Selling-Off the Most Treasureds from HK's, especially in its Land & Developments.
Central China Government should take this Turn into HKSAR's, since July, 1997...
From July, 2012 up till Now....HK's had ever been like That...!!!???
For HK's Betterment, Do HK's another Great Achievement...
In Restoration of HK's well-established International Reputation...
IMMEDIATE DISMISSAL of that 'CY' & Its Related Group...!!!
Displaying Central China Government's Discretion of Power in Tackle with...
'Evil Nature' of that 'CY' & Its Related Group...Though got its Position thru 'Deceit'...
Out of Reasonable Number of 'CE' Candidates...
Replacement of present 'CE'...Before It's too Late...BRAVO!!!
Elsie Leung a pro-Beijing heavyweight? She is an intellectual lightweight. In fact, it is wrong to describe anything she says or thinks as intellectual. She is deeply stupid and was an incompetent Secretary for Justice.
Dai Muff
Nobody advocates that because it will never happen. Any more than it does for any other electoral position in Hong Kong.


SCMP.com Account