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  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 10:25am
Beijing White Paper 2014
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POLITICS

Bar Association calls for options on reform offering 'greatest possible' public participation

Denial of public nomination without 'greatest possible' voter participation in 2017 will 'abuse concept of rule of law', warns Bar Association

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 July, 2014, 11:29pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 July, 2014, 2:35am
 

The government will "abuse the concept of the rule of law" if it rejects the notion of voters nominating chief executive candidates without offering alternatives that ensure the greatest possible public participation, the Bar Association said yesterday.

The Bar - which earlier said public nomination was incompatible with the Basic Law - also criticised as unfair the government's selective use of its views on political reform.

The United States, meanwhile, has voiced support for the 2017 chief executive election - the first under universal suffrage - to be run by a method "judged credible" by the people.

The statements came ahead of the scheduled release on Tuesday of the government's first report on electoral reform and followed Occupy Central's unofficial referendum in which 720,000 people backed proposals calling for public nomination.

"It would be irresponsible for the government to simply reject [public nomination out of hand], or to recommend that the central authorities disapprove or exclude that proposal on the ground of non-compliance with the Basic Law - and then do no more about the proposal," the association said.

In its submission in April, the Bar said public nomination - consistently rejected by Beijing - was incompatible with the Basic Law, which states that only a nominating committee can put forward candidates. But it also described Beijing's idea that candidates must be patriots who "love the country and love Hong Kong" as highly questionable.

Yesterday it said officials had been unfairly citing only the part on public nomination.

The Bar did not specify options when it said the government should consider "alternatives" to public nomination. It referred to suggestions made in April, including the abolition of corporate voting in elections to form the nominating committee.

It also said the committee need not "copy" the structure of the election committee previously formed to elect the current chief executive, which is often criticised as unrepresentative.

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung said the upcoming report would not quote any submission out of context as all would be appended in full.

Civic Party leader and barrister Alan Leong Kah-kit said the Bar's statement was timely. He said it was prompted by actions on the part of the government that bordered on intellectual dishonesty.

The Hong Kong election was among topics discussed at a meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and Chinese officials in Beijing this week.

"We are not taking positions about what particular [electoral] formula is right," a US State Department official said in Beijing on Wednesday.

"But we certainly believe that an approach that is judged credible by the people of Hong Kong will extend credibility to the person who is ultimately selected as the chief executive and contribute to the long-term stability and prosperity of Hong Kong."

Separately, former chief secretary Anson Chan Fang On-sang and Democratic Party founder Martin Lee Chu-ming set off for London today. Chan will speak to the Chatham House policy institute about political reform.

 

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blue
"Can the bar association please advise me without charging an arm and a leg which country practices public nomination and how is this carried out."

The United States has public nomination. Anyone can write in any name they wish on the ballot when voting even. "Write in" vote candidates never win elections however.
Dai Muff
You drink too much coffee dude.
Here. Pro bono:
Candidates in Canada require 50 or 100 signatures from the riding in which they are standing to run. Candidates in Sweden stand on the ballots of their respective parties, But anyone can set up a party. A candidate for election to the United Kingdom Parliament, Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly or Northern Ireland assembly requires the signed assent of ten registered electors. In New South Wales provided a person meets all other eligibility requirements, if they are on the electoral roll at 6pm on the day the Writs issue, they can nominate for a State election. And those are just a few.
And, as has been explained before, but as United Fronters like to keep ignoring, in societies where nomination occurs within multiple parties or at multiple levels, you get a LOT closer to public nomination because the different parties need to nominate people the public will vote for in order to win the election. Ask the US Republicans why Sarah Palin was a bad idea.
What you guys want to impose on Hong Kong is monolithic nomination by a small coterie who do what the central authorities tell them. Now perhaps YOU can explain to us in what country THAT is considered democracy.
skypingly
I do not believe in occupy central. It affects our life, livelihood and freedom. 800 thousand is not the
Majority. Progress in steps not in extremism and you will reach your goal
skypingly
Can the bar association please advise me without charging an arm and a leg which country practices public nomination and how is this carried out.
I certainly do not want to live in a country where the practice of democracy is represented by some of our legislators. They say they are democrats but they are the only people that can speak in a place where there is freedom of speech. If they do not like to hear what other people have to say they throw bananas and glasses and professes themselves to be heroes. Maybe when they are in charge they will throw bullets. Worst than the communist in the hay days. Everyone have their own views which should be respected even if they differ from ours. The practise of throwing articles and shouting, not letting others to say their piece shows inmaturity and not democracy at work.
strangefellow
Well done HK Bar Association!
skypingly
I like to drink coffee, but I will not accuse you for drinking too much coffee. I believe in democracy and had always voted for a democrat except parties that represent themselves as democrats but do not practice what they preach. I am just a simple voter and am not affiliated with any parties
aplucky1
oh look the disgusting filthy lawyers want to make more rules so they can make more money off the masses
please do not trust lions in sheep's clothes
sundayatscmp
Patriotism may be a virtue and nobody is against it. But judges must rule on evidence according to the law. He/She must disregard not only patriotism, but even his/her own feelings and beliefs. 'On evidence according to the law', nothing else matters. Only then can everyone trust the system.
captam
@ Photograph: 'Anson Chan and Martin Lee meet US House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi '
Anson and Martin : Did you ask to borrow that Stars and Stripes flag so you can wave it with your Colonial flag-waving friends at the next demo?
hkqx
@Blue : you are so far off regarding the US voting system. For US presidency, each political parties (usually democrats and republicans) will battle out their own candidates in several stages within the party. Then, there is a electoral vote by states !!!!

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