Ronny Tong pushes debate on nominating committee for 2017 poll

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 4:05am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 June, 2014, 4:05am

Basic Law Committee member Professor Rao Geping will be among the speakers at a political reform seminar organised by moderate pan-democratic lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah to promote discussion of issues other than public nomination.

Tong, of the Civic Party, said he was running the seminar on Saturday to stimulate debate on the composition of the nominating committee, the body empowered by the Basic Law to nominate chief executive candidates when democracy arrives in 2017.

"I wish to push for society's discussion of the nominating committee … There has been sufficient debate on whether to allow voters to nominate candidates," said Tong, who has tabled his own proposal excluding public nomination. "But I am not holding the seminar to promote my own electoral reform proposal."

Among the speakers at two panel discussions - on democratising the committee and how it should put forward top job candidates, respectively - are Peking University law professors Rao and Chen Duanhong. Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who headed the government consultation on electoral reform that ended last month, will officiate and give a speech.

"The government is paying attention to this seminar … there will be another official attending the whole event," Tong said, adding that the list of guests included both Beijing loyalists and pan-democrats.

Besides pro-Beijing lawmakers Priscilla Leung Mei-fun and Paul Tse Wai-chun, pan-democrats Albert Ho Chun-yan, Cyd Ho Sau-lan and Tong's party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit - all staunch advocates of public nomination - will also speak.

"I told the other pan-democrats I would not stop them from discussing public nomination, but I said the event would focus on the nominating committee," Tong said.

Some pan-democrats fear the committee will "screen out" candidates critical of Beijing. The fact some corporations can vote to elect members while most voters cannot is also controversial.

"The current discussion on the committee has been too simple," he said. "Even if we are abolishing corporate votes, there are different ways [of doing so]."