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  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 10:28pm
Universal Suffrage
NewsHong Kong
UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE

Hong Kong government unveils crucial reports on universal suffrage for 2017

'Mainstream opinion' is that only a committee should have power to nominate candidates for chief executive, who should 'love the country and love Hong Kong', reports state

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 July, 2014, 2:44pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 July, 2014, 11:52pm
 

This afternoon the government kick-started the formal process of reforming the way Hong Kong selects its leader in time for the next chief executive election in 2017.

In two reports – one delivered by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to lawmakers, and one that will be delivered by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to Beijing – the government stated that the “mainstream opinion” in Hong Kong was that only a nominating committee should have the power to elect the city’s next leader.

Watch: Students respond after Carrie Lam unveils report on universal suffrage for Hong Kong in 2017

The reports also state that Hongkongers “generally agree” that reform should be strictly in accordance with the Basic Law, the city’s mini-constitution, and that the next chief executive should be a person who “loves the country and loves Hong Kong”.

The top officials reported “considerable views” that the nominating committee should be expanded from the 1,200-strong Election Committee which has until now selected the city’s leader – but also noted “quite a number of views” that the number of members should stay the same.

Almost 800,000 had called for the public to be allowed to nominate candidates for the top job in an unofficial referendum organised by the pro-democracy Occupy Central movement.

The chief executive made no mention of the Occupy poll, or the July 1 pro-democracy rally which organisers say was attended by more than half a million people, in his report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC). 

But the report does state that "a number of groups and members of the public" expressed "divergent" views after the consultation period "through different ways and channels".

Occupy plan to stage an open-ended mass sit-in on Central streets if the government's official plan for the 2017 election – expected later this year – fails to guarantee voters a genuine choice between candidates. 

Pro-democracy leaders have also suggested that a campaign of non-cooperation could begin before the government delivers its plan.

Beijing has repeatedly rejected public nomination as unconstitutional, while it’s proponents say that a nominating committee stacked with Beijing-friendly members will only put forward candidates for the election that the central government approves of.

The reports, which appear intent on drawing a line under public nomination, are unlikely to satisfy the pro-democracy camp, meaning the contentious battle over universal suffrage continues.

Both reports also concluded that the public "generally agrees" that there was no need for further major reform of the way the Legislative Council is elected, disappointing those who had called for a reduction in or the abolition of functional constituency seats, which are not elected by the general public. 

Lam's report summarised the results of a five-month consultation with the public during which the government received some 124,000 submissions.

Later today, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying will submit his report to the NPCSC asking it to approve political reforms, marking the first step of the year-long reform process.

The chief secretary's report is available to read here.

The chief executive's report is available to read here [scroll down for English version].

As the reform process enters its next crucial phase, some key questions will have to be answered. The Post will be updating these with the answers provided by the two reports as the day progresses.

Q1: How many people should form the nominating committee for naming chief executive candidates, and how should it be formed? Should it follow the existing framework of the Election Committee that comprises four sectors?

Chief Executive: There are relatively more views that the composition of the nominating committee should be decided by reference to the existing method [of comprising the Election Committee] of four sectors in equal proportion, in order to meet the requirement for being "broadly representative".

Chief Secretary: There are relatively more views that the composition of the nominating committee should be decided by reference to the existing four sectors of the Election Committee in equal proportions.

Q2: How many candidates should the nominating committee select for the chief executive election?

Chief Executive: There are two views. One is that it is necessary to fix the number of candidates. The other is that there is no need to restrict the number of candidates. For those who consider that there is a need to cap the number of candidates, some suggest setting the number of candidates at two to three.

Chief Secretary: There are two major views. One is there is a need to ensure the solemnity of the election and allow voters to have sufficient understanding of the candidates’ manifestos and missions, and hence it is necessary to fix the number of candidates. Of them, some suggest setting the number at two to three because the number of candidates in the past chief executive elections was around two to three. The other view is that there is no need to restrict the number of candidates.

Q3: What is the minimum number of supporting nominating committee members one must gain in order to be permitted to stand in the election?

Chief Executive: There are quite a number of views that a person contending for nomination has to obtain support from at least a certain proportion of nominating committee members. Some consider that the nomination threshold should remain at one-eighth of the membership. There are other proposals, including “civic nomination”, “party nomination”, outside of the nominating committee.

Chief Secretary: There are quite a number of views that a person contending for nomination has to obtain support from at least a certain proportion of nominating committee members so as to demonstrate that such a person has cross-sector support in the nominating committee. Some consider that the nomination threshold should remain at one-eighth of the membership, like the existing Election Committee. There are also some organisations and people suggesting other proposals, including introducing “civic nomination”, “party nomination”, outside of the nominating committee.

Q4: Do members of the public outside the nominating committee have a right to nominate candidates?

Chief Executive: [Leung does not mention Occupy Central’s referendum nor the July 1 pro-democracy march at all in his report] I am aware that after the conclusion of the ... consultation, a number of groups and members of the public still expressed their wishes and aspirations concerning the implementation of universal suffrage for the chief executive election through different ways and channels, and their views remain divergent.

Although there were professional bodies of the legal sector pointing out that public nomination was not in compliance with the Basic Law, it is worth noting that there were still considerable views after the conclusion of the consultation the element should be included in the nominating procedures.

The general public of Hong Kong would agree that specific proposals should be formulated within the Basic Law... In the next round of consultation, the HKSAR government will continue to strive to narrow the differences amongst different sectors and members of the Legco, to seek common ground in a peaceful, rational and pragmatic manner.

Chief Secretary: The mainstream opinion from the consultation exercise is that Article 45 of the Basic Law has already made it clear that the power to nominate chief executive candidates is vested in the nominating committee only. The committee has the substantial power to nominate. Such power should not be by-passed.

Q5: How should the Legislative Council be reformed for the next election in 2016? Should the half-and-half ratio of members from directly-elected geographical constituencies and the trade-based functional constituencies (FCs) be maintained? Should corporate voting in FCs be abolished?

Chief Executive: The public generally agrees that efforts should now be focused on the chief executive election method. As relatively substantial amendments had been made for Legco reform in 2012, it is generally agreed that there is no need to amend annex II of the Basic Law regarding the method for forming Legco in 2016.

Chief Secretary: Same as chief executive's report.

Q6: Are there particular criteria for candidates for chief executive?

Chief Secretary: Mainstream opinion shows that the chief executive should be a person who loves the country and Hong Kong. Relevant provisions in the Basic Law have already adequately reflected such a requirement.

Chief Executive: The community generally agrees that the chief executive should be a person who “loves the country and loves Hong Kong”.

Q7: Should “one person, one vote” be granted first even if views on other elements of the reform (e.g. nomination method) remain split?

Chief Executive: Having fully considered the views of... different sectors, I am of the view that the community generally hopes that universal suffrage for the chief executive election could first be implemented in 2017, so that over five million eligible voters in Hong Kong could elect the next chief executive, thereby taking an important step forward in the constitutional development of Hong Kong.

Q8: Can the future chief executive be affiliated to a political party?

Chief Secretary: At present, the law allows members of political parties to run for the office of chief executive, but if one is elected, he is required to make a declaration that he is to withdraw from his party. There was not much discussion on this during the consultation. There are roughly as many views supporting relaxation of such a requirement as views against.

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This article is now closed to comments

53ae0c69-5e94-4706-924a-743c0a320969
"Love" in Chinese I think is akin to "loyalty"
Personally, I don't see any problems with the requirement that the CE has to love and be loyal to China and HK. This is the basic requirement of citizenship of most countries.
****en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_citizenship
Australia "I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people"
Canada "I swear (or affirm) that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, Queen of Canada, Her Heirs and Successors"
USA "I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance
and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty
of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend
the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith
and allegiance to the same"
UK "I, [name], [swear by Almighty God] [do solemnly, sincerely and truly affirm and declare] that, on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs, and successors"
and the list goes on.
It would be very interesting if we are allowed a CE who detests China and HK. We will end up being a laughing stock in the international community.
pliu
The requirement for any CE candidate to love Hong Kong is a must and not negotiable. However, whether the CE candidate must also love China is debatable. He or she can be neutral but must not be anti-China because we need a CE that can work with Beijing. If they can't even accept these reasonable requirements then they shouldn't bother about standing for CE. Hong Kong would be far better off without these people!
Anti communist HKer
I love the country and Hong Kong, but I think the Communist Party is a detriment to both. Since I meet the basic requirement as stated in the consultation, I guess I have a shot of being a CE candidate in 2017.
Dao-Phooy
It's going to be a bumpy ride!
The report was totally predictable and a complete waste of time and effort. Not even the courage to suggest abolition of the Functional Constituencies. What a farce - why 'consult' when you don't even provide a truthful report on all of the views expressed by HK citizens.
John Adams
"public nomination of candidates - a majority demand expressed in the Occupy Central unofficial referendum" ???
As I recall, the options for voting in the unofficial referendum did not allow any other option apart from public nomination !
.
Indeed one should not ignore the 800,000 who voted in the referendum.
But equally one should also not ignore the other 2,000,000 or so eligible voters who did not take part in the refrendum, many of them whom - like me - did not vote as a conscious decision simply because public nomination was the only option allowed.
.
As a true "mock" referendum the occupy central organisation was very stupid and intolerant to exclude other methods of nomination.
Were they scared of what might have happened if they had done so ?
To me that shows how "un-democratic" the pro-dems really are at heart - and in practice.
HK-Lover
From which poll draws the government the conclusion that "Hongkongers generally agree" that..... and that the "mainstream opinion in Hong Kong was ".........
Does the government have such a representative sample size as the 800,000 of Occupy's opinion poll ?
Paradox314
How deeply disappointing. Partisan politics aside, and I really mean it - I accept that there are those who are pro-Beijing. As elected representatives who have never tried to hide their proBeijing views, Carrie Lam & C.Y. Leung are allowed of course to actively argue their perspective.
.
But here they have lied about Hong Kong people's views. Now I know they are rotten - they are liars.
.
"the public “generally agrees” that there was no need for major reform of the way the Legislative Council is elected" ----NO WAY!!! This is a LIE!
.
"It stated that “mainstream opinion” in Hong Kong was that only a nominating committee should have the power to elect the city’s next leader," NO WAY!!! - This is a DAMNED LIE!!!
impala
Right. It was to be expected, but it is shocking to see it spelled out anyway.

So no reform whatsoever in LegCo. I mean... seriously?!

Never mind that is is obvious to anyone with half a brain that the FC system is as rotten as hell. And never mind that it is equally obvious that having an 'opposition' party that wins the popular vote but nevertheless can't do much more than protest and ask questions (which can be left unanswered) is a recipe for frustration and a dysfunctional legislature.

CY & Co prefer to pretend that all is fine and dandy with LegCo. What a joke.

And then the election of the CE... oh my. They're even worse there. Blabbering on about that supposed majority that are actually pretty happy with the way things are. Figments of their imagination.

If they really believe that mainstream opinion doesn't want to see more influence of the general public in the nomination of candidates, then let's have a referendum please. Come on Carrie, if you are so keen on public consultations, then why don't you choose the clearest form of public consultation possible: the ballot?

Instead, you keep hiding between these reports which are the end result of a black-box process that is so clearly manipulated that it is hard to take seriously at all.
ononlam
Shame on those government officials! They get paid by Hong Kong tax payers but do not represent Hong Kong's public interests at all. We are witnessing the gradual erosion of basic human rights in Hong Kong, and now, our government lies to protect interests of those in Beijing.
538fbefe-23bc-427f-b2b5-34f10a320969
"the chief executive should be a person who loves the country and Hong Kong" - so will they have to undergo a lie detector test before assuming office?

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