Universal suffrage in Hong Kong

Occupy vote can be chance for public to speak out on 2017: Civic Party leader

Alan Leong suggests polling people on range of issues alongside central ballot on reform plan

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 12:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 May, 2014, 3:59pm

A prominent pan-democrat lawmaker has called on Occupy Central to offer a way for the public to voice their concerns about the 2017 chief executive election during next month’s vote on reform plans.

“Can we conduct another poll outside the ballot station to allow people to determine factors they find unacceptable in the chief executive election?” asked Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit, speaking to Commercial Radio on Tuesday morning. “That can boost the authority of the June 22 ‘civil referendum’.”

On May 6, supporters of the Occupy Central pro-democracy movement selected a shortlist of three plans for the public to vote on in June. All three would give the public the right to nominate chief executive candidates – a right the Hong Kong and central governments have repeatedly rejected.

Leong dismissed suggestions that reform plans which ignore public nomination should be added to the June shortlist, but suggested a broader range of issues could be polled outside of the main ballot.

The three winning plans in the May 6 poll – from a shortlist of 15 – were respectively sponsored by student-led group Scholarism, the Alliance for True Democracy and People Power.

But the alliance – made up of 26 of the 27 pan-democratic lawmakers – may be about to break apart after People Power and the League reneged on promises to support the alliance’s proposal in the May 6 vote.

The Democrats will decide on Thursday whether to quit the alliance, while former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang and Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah are exploring the possibility of forming a new platform to push their proposals, which focus on making the nominating committee representative and ignore public nomination.

“We have to think about an incentive to make people come out to vote,” said Leong. “A low turnout [on June 22] due to the camp’s infighting is the last thing we want to see.”

Leong played down a row with Tong, who was apparently angered when his party’s leader questioned moderate pan-democrats’ willingness to cut deals behind closed doors. Tong said the comments “demeaned” moderates as being “like the Communist Party”.

Leong said the pan-democratic camp should refrain from getting entangled in “wars of words”.

“I have always appreciated Ronny Tong…we are all contributing to the pro-democracy movement,” said Leong. “We should stop wasting time in wars of words and think about how to boost turnout for the June 22 vote.”