Hong Kong's pro-democracy scholars propose 2016 Legco election reforms
Pro-democracy advisers want functional seats merged into three sectors to dilute interests and smooth path towards universal suffrage in 2020
Jeffie Lam and Gary Cheung
The 35 functional constituency seats should be slashed to 20 and merged into three general sectors in the 2016 Legislative Council election to help pave the way for universal suffrage in 2020, pro-democracy scholars have proposed.
Academic advisers to the Alliance for True Democracy have also suggested increasing the total number of Legco seats from 70 to 80, with 60 elected by popular vote.
Under the proposal, the five "super seats" in the District Council (Second) constituency, introduced for last year's polls and elected by 3.2 million voters, would be abolished while the remaining 30 would be merged.
The proposal was discussed yesterday at a meeting of the alliance, formed by 26 of the 27 pan-democratic lawmakers.
They also suggested scrapping the present split-voting arrangement where motions and bills cannot be passed without support from both directly elected lawmakers and functional constituencies.
The scholars said merging the constituencies into general sectors would dilute each constituency's "self-interest" and smooth the path towards eventually abolishing all functional seats in 2020.
The three new sectors - professional, commerce and socio-political - would comprise six, 10 and four seats respectively, they proposed.
Meanwhile, among the 60 popularly elected seats, 35 would be elected under the current practice - proportional representation in five districts with multiple seats.
The remaining 25 would be elected by proportional representation or by a simple majority with one seat per constituency.
For the universal suffrage election in 2020, the scholars proposed further increasing the number of seats to 90.
A pan-democrat said the alliance's proposal for the 2016 Legco election was unlikely to be accepted by the government-friendly camp as it included significant changes to the functional constituencies.
But political scientist Ma Ngok, one of the architects of the proposals, warned that universal suffrage for Legco would not be possible if the current practice of the functional constituencies remained unchanged in the transition election.
Civic Party chairwoman Audrey Eu Yuet-mee said the most important point was to expand the proportion of directly elected seats in 2016.
She added that expanding the voter bases of functional constituencies was definitely not a way out. "We shouldn't give functional constituencies an excuse to stay," she said. "No matter how you play around, it will never meet the principle of universal and equal suffrage."