Hong Kong Basic Law

Civic Party leader backs open nomination process for Hong Kong's 2017 election

Audrey Eu says allowing all registered voters to nominate candidates to run for Hong Kong chief executive does not violate Basic Law

PUBLISHED : Friday, 06 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 06 September, 2013, 6:38am

Allowing all registered voters to nominate candidates for the 2017 chief executive election does not breach the Basic Law, the Civic Party chairwoman said as she hit back at claims by a leading pro-Beijing figure.

Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, a barrister and former chairwoman of the Bar Association, insisted that proposals by pan-democrats for the people to nominate their candidates for leader were "rational, legal and reasonable".

Her remarks came after Elsie Leung Oi-sie, vice-chairwoman of the central government's Basic Law Committee, said this kind of civil nomination - as it has been termed - could usurp the power of the nominating committee required under the Basic Law.

Eu told the South China Morning Post there could be a dual system - the nominating committee would nominate its own candidates and "endorse" any candidate with the required number of civil nominations.

"I am not usurping the right [of the nominating committee] at all. Keep your rights, nominating however many candidates you want; just leave us a little, so every registered voter can enjoy equal rights," she said.

The former legislator believed that civil nomination was the most direct way to counter candidates being screened out by a nominating committee due to their political aspirations.

"If there's civil nomination, we don't have to be too worried about the composition of the small nominating committee," she said.

Eu said she had not misinterpreted the Basic Law - Hong Kong's mini-constitution - and there was nothing illegal about the pan-democrats' proposal.

When asked whether the pan-democrats' reform plan was "politically realistic", she said: "There are so many things in politics you might think are unrealistic to begin with. But what I'm asking for is rational, legal and reasonable."

Eu, who turns 60 next week, is being tipped to run in the 2017 election for chief executive. But when asked about that, she said she had "no plans" and the focus right now must be on securing a fair electoral system.

Ensuring her or other pan-democrats' eligibility to run should not be the yardstick for proposals for the election process, she added.

"Well, maybe Audrey Eu will die tomorrow - does that mean you lose your yardstick? We shouldn't just concentrate on personalities. … It is very short-sighted. Individuals are neither an objective or a good measure."

While the city is debating how to reform the electoral system for 2017, the government is not expected to launch consultations on the issue until next year.