DAB considers block voting for nomination of Hong Kong chief executive candidates
Idea would raise hurdle to pan-democrat contesting chief executive poll
Tanna Chong and Tony Cheung in Beijing
Hong Kong's largest party could propose a controversial block-voting system to nominate candidates for chief executive in 2017, similar to a system used to pick delegates to the nation's top legislature.
But the system, floated by leading members of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, would infuriate pan-democrats, who would struggle to get a candidate on the ballot for the 2017 poll, due to be the first run under universal suffrage.
Under the system, each member of the nominating committee would have multiple votes, depending on how many candidates would go forward to the final election.
It would leave a candidate who has strong support from a minority of nominating committee members but who was not popular with the majority no chance of getting onto the ballot paper. The nominating committee is expected to be modelled on the election committee that chose previous chief executives, long lambasted as a "small circle" dominated by Beijing loyalists.
"It is one man, one vote for the chief executive election because only one gets the top job," DAB chairman Tam Yiu-chung said. "But in the selection of candidates we will have multiple candidates.
"The multiple vote system is adopted in the National People's Congress," added Tam, referring to the election of Hong Kong delegates to the National People's Congress in 2012, when 1,600 voters had 36 votes each to split between the 52 candidates.
Asked how many candidates would go forward to the 2017 election, Tam said: "I personally think three would be appropriate. So [nominating committee] voters could cast one to three ballots."
The function and make-up of the nominating committee are at the heart of the five-month consultation on political reform.
Speaking in Beijing, where he is a delegate to the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Tam said: "The DAB's proposal will not be too vague - we will have a concrete suggestion on the number of chief executive candidates."
The proposal is expected to be tabled late next month. The consultation ends in May.
Separately, Beijing-loyalist heavyweight Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai said she was willing to serve as a middleman between the pan-democrats and Beijing. Any reform proposal needs approval from two-thirds of lawmakers, meaning it will need support from some pan-democrats.
"I am willing to be the messenger for pan-democrats. If you really want one man, one vote, don't insist too much on your own views," said Fan, an NPC Standing Committee member. She added that 2017 was a "first step" and the system could be amended later.