Occupy Central

Occupy Central to hold New Year's Day 'referendum' on 2017 reforms

Voters will be asked three key questions on reform ahead of 2017 chief executive poll

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 December, 2013, 2:59am
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 December, 2013, 4:19am

Hongkongers can start 2014 by giving their views on how their leader should be elected in 2017 as the Occupy Central movement runs a New Year's Day "referendum" on electoral reform.

The group behind plans for mass civil disobedience next summer has commissioned University of Hong Kong and Polytechnic University academics to ask three questions that will help shape its proposal for universal suffrage as the government continues its consultation on reform.

Pollsters will ask whether the nominating committee to pick candidates for chief executive should be made more representative; whether there should be "pre-screening" for candidates; and whether the public should get to nominate candidates.

"These are the key principles that needed to be addressed," said Dr Chan Kin-man, one of the founders of Occupy Central.

Voters can visit the Victoria Park bandstand from 1pm to 6.30pm, go to popvote.hk or download the "PopVote" smartphone app. The poll is open to permanent residents aged 18 and over, who must provide identity card and phone numbers.

The online vote closes at 6pm and the results will be released at a Civil Human Rights Front rally that evening.

HKU's public opinion programme, which saw its mock election for chief executive brought down by hackers last year, said it had employed security experts to prevent a repeat, and could switch to paper ballots if its systems were compromised. The system can handle up to 800,000 online votes, HKU says.

"We hope that, with this back-up plan, whoever wishes to hack us will decide not to do so," programme director Dr Robert Chung Ting-yiu said. "We are promoting civic education."

"We want to provide opportunities for Hong Kong citizens to express their views through a civil referendum," said Occupy co-founder Benny Tai Yiu-ting.

The vote will feed into Occupy's third "deliberation day" and serve as a warm-up for a referendum the movement will hold in June, before it puts its plan to have 10,000 activists blockading streets in Central into effect.