Let the public join nominating committee: DAB member

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 December, 2013, 6:37am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 December, 2013, 3:00pm

Forget about adding district councillors, let 300 ordinary people join the nominating committee to put forward candidates for the 2017 chief executive race, a core member of the city's biggest pro-government party says.

Maggie Chan Man-ki, a Wong Tai Sin district councillor and an executive committee member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said she made the proposal in her personal capacity to facilitate public discussion. But Basic Law Institute chairman Alan Hoo SC stood by his own proposal to add district councillors to create a 1,500-strong nominating committee, while fine-tuning the balance among other largely trade-based subsectors.

Chan is understood to be the first DAB member to table a reform proposal.

She told the South China Morning Post that the 300 people could be picked either randomly or as a focus group that reflects the city's demographics. The remaining 1,200 members could be elected with reference to the existing Election Committee, which nominated and elected the chief executive last year.

Commenting on other proposals such as Hoo's, Chan said: "It is true that directly elected district councillors have a popular mandate. But their main function is to represent about 20,000 residents, so adding them to the nominating committee could create a functional imbalance."

As an alternative, Chan proposed forming a nominating committee with 1,200 members with a broader elector base - such as allowing insurance brokers and property agents to pick their own nominating committee representative. The committee would then put forward three to four candidates for the public to choose from.

She opposed the pan-democrats' idea of letting the public directly nominate candidates, criticising it for deviating from the Basic Law.

But speaking separately, Hoo reiterated that allowing the public to put forth candidates would still be in line with the city's mini-constitution - provided a nominating panel got to further narrow the pool.

He also suggested that to improve governance, the administration should amend the law that requires the chief executive to not be affiliated with any political party. He believed the government's inefficiency was partly because the chief executive had neither a party background nor a vote in the Legislative Council.

"As soon as the law is changed … the legislature and the executive [branch] can have a constructive relationship," Hoo said. "It won't be like nowadays [when it is] only confrontational."