Occupy Central

Occupy Central charter to ensure lawmakers' support for voting project results

Organisers of the civil disobedience movement hope the document will bind lawmakers to vote in line with the public's wishes for 2017 election

PUBLISHED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 4:12am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 4:12am

Organisers of the Occupy Central pro-democracy movement will ask pan-democratic parties to sign a charter pledging to vote in accordance with the results of its "civil referendum" on political reform.

Dr Chan Kin-man, an organiser of the civil disobedience movement, said he hoped the charter would bind lawmakers to vote in line with the wishes of the public when the government brings forward a proposal for universal suffrage in the 2017 chief executive election. Any political reform package needs to pass the Legislative Council with a two-thirds majority, giving pan-democrats an effective veto.

"The charter will state clearly under what circumstances the parties would have to vote according to the results of the 'civil referendum'," Chan, a Chinese University sociologist, said. "We do not want to force parties to sign it though … we plan to draft the charter by sitting together with all of them."

The government is expected to bring forward a reform proposal later this year, based on a five-month public consultation that ends in May. Occupy plans to stage an electronic vote allowing all Hongkongers the chance to say yes or no to the package.

The movement held an electronic vote on New Year's Day on general principles of electoral reform and plans a further vote in June, in which Hongkongers will be invited to choose between different electoral methods suggested by various political parties.

Occupy is also holding a series of deliberation days, at which the public can share their views on universal suffrage. Some 3,000 people who took part in its second deliberation day will meet early next month to discuss their next move.

Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing welcomed the idea of a charter and said her party had always intended to vote in line with the referendum results.

But Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah said he hoped electronic voting arrangements could be improved.

"I'm afraid there will be a repeat of the New Year's Day referendum, where only hard-core pan-democratic supporters voted … I don't think [the results] really reflected the opinions of all Hongkongers," he said.

The most eye-catching aspect of Occupy is a plan to rally 10,000 activists to block the streets of Central if the government fails to come up with an acceptable blueprint for universal suffrage.

Originally scheduled for this summer, the movement has been expected to delay the civil disobedience campaign until after the government puts forward a proposal.

But Chan warned yesterday that the blockade could go ahead this year if the government set too narrow a framework for reform.