Occupy Central

Occupy Central has high hopes for second consultation

Organisers expect 3,000 to join a series of meetings over next two months to build consensus on principles for chief executive poll

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 September, 2013, 3:41pm

Up to 3,000 people are expected to be involved in a series of meetings over the next two months to come up with "democratic principles" for the next chief executive election.

The second "deliberation day" will be another attempt by the Occupy Central campaign to forge a consensus on political reform.

But unlike the first event, which was just one meeting, it will involve about 24 groups and more than 30 meetings throughout the city.

"We want our message [about striving for genuine democracy] to blossom everywhere in the city," said campaign organiser Benny Tai Yiu-ting, an associate law professor at the University of Hong Kong.

The meetings will be organised by major pan-democrat parties as well as by groups such as teachers, social workers, tertiary students, cartoonists and finance workers.

Pressure groups for homeless people, heritage concerns and animal rights will also hold meetings.

While different churches have conflicting views on the civil disobedience plan, at least one meeting will be primarily for Christians.

Tai expects the meetings will build consensus on some democratic principles covering areas such as whether to abide by the Basic Law or the international democratic standard, the composition of the nomination committee and the central government's power to appoint the chief executive.

"We are planning to run an electronic voting exercise by the end of the year so that all those principles will be ranked," Tai said. "It will be an important step before the last deliberation day in March or April, when we assess the concrete proposals."

Tai described the second "D-day" as "a signpost to the campaign", which began in January when he first floated the idea of mobilising 10,000 supporters to block roads in Central in the middle of next year should a satisfactory plan for universal suffrage fail to arrive. About 1,000 people have so far signalled their intention to participate.

Another core organiser, Chinese University Professor Chan Kin-man, said that now was a crucial moment for the campaign. "For a campaign that could have thousands of people join it, you cannot rely only on your network. You need public participation," he said.

Chan said the campaign would cost HK$6 million but only HK$1.2 million had been raised so far. A number of fundraising activities will begin later this year.