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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 12:55pm
NewsHong Kong
POLITICS

Mainstream opinion key to electoral reform in Hong Kong, CY Leung tells NPC

Chief Executive's report to the NPC suggests that the Hong Kong public generally backs the government line on universal suffrage in 2017

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 July, 2014, 11:44pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 July, 2014, 2:33pm
 

Poll

  • Yes: 6%
  • No: 88%
  • Unsure: 6%
16 Jul 2014
  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure
Total number of votes recorded: 328

"Mainstream opinion" in Hong Kong holds that only a nominating committee should have the power to put forward chief executive candidates and that such power must not be "undermined or bypassed", the chief executive has told Beijing.

In his report to the National People's Congress Standing Committee - the first step of a long march towards universal suffrage in 2017 - Leung Chun-ying said the public "generally agreed" that the chief executive had to be a person who "loves the country and loves Hong Kong".

Further suggesting that the public backs the government line, he said it would also agree that reform proposals should be drawn up in accordance with the Basic Law and the decisions of the Standing Committee.

Watch: Students respond to Carrie Lam's report on universal suffrage for Hong Kong in 2017

While the report did not specifically rule out allowing voters to nominate candidates, it failed to please lawmakers from either side of the political spectrum, who met at a two-hour special Legislative Council meeting yesterday.

Leung made vague references to Occupy Central's unofficial plebiscite and the mass rally on July 1, both backing the right of voters to nominate candidates, as well as the Bar Association's statement in April saying this would not comply with the Basic Law.

READ: CY Leung 'will leave the slaughter of public nomination to Beijing'

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

Some Beijing-loyalist lawmakers questioned why officials appeared hesitant in dismissing public or "civic" nomination, while pan-democrats condemned the report for ignoring public demands for "genuine" universal suffrage.

I did reflect the views expressed by these people to the central authorities
Leung Chun-ying

Pan-democrats also criticised the report for concluding that society "generally agreed" there was no need to amend the Basic Law in preparing for the Legislative Council election in 2016 - which means functional constituencies would continue to make up half the 70-strong legislature.

Benny Tai Yiu-ting - founder of the civil-disobedience movement Occupy Central said the report failed to reflect the public's demand "accurately".

The Standing Committee is expected to approve electoral reform next month, before the Hong Kong government starts a fresh public consultation before the end of the year. The eventual government proposal will need a two-thirds majority in Legco - meaning Leung must win over some pan-democrats.

The Federation of Students and Scholarism also said they would prepare for civil disobedience, but would wait for the NPC's decision next month before deciding on whether to put them into practice.

Leung said in a press conference: "Many people took part in rallies and a civic poll … The government fully understood their opinion … and I did reflect the views expressed by these people to the central authorities."

 


KEY POINTS

  • Government reports on political reform do not explicitly rule out public nomination but say mainstream view is that universal suffrage for chief executive election must adhere strictly to Basic Law.
  • It is generally agreed there is no need to amend Basic Law on 2016 Legco election, reports say. 
  • Student activists vow to launch civil disobedience action if NPC standing committee fails to promise a nomination without screening.

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24

This article is now closed to comments

Dai Muff
Of course you do. The one thing the pro-Beijingers who claim to speak for the people never want is for the people to have the chance to speak for themselves. Unless the Functional Constituencies are entirely abolished we are basically using lobby groups to form the nominating committee.
ianson
The SCMP's use of inverted commas around "genuine" in the experssion "'genuine' universal suffrage" is a transparent anti-democratic putdown for which it ought to be ashamed. Every proposal in this debate claims to be in compliance with the Basic Law requirement for "universal suffrage", i.e. genuine, so is the SCMP suggesting that, uniquely vis a vis other players, the democratic camp's emphasis on genuineness is somehow less real than others? Beijing acolytes will tell you that an election with only one hand-picked candidate would genuinely satisfy the requirement of universal suffrage just as long as all citizens have the chance to vote for him/her but they are not comfortable with the word, for obvious reasons.
impala
There appears to be an ever increasing rate of surrealism in our government.

Even in the extremely unlikely event that every single one of the 130,000 participants in the public consultation said something along the lines of 'a majority-appointed nomination committee should be the only body to select CE candidates,' then still it is a sign of stunning disconnect that Carrie & Co then note this down as mainstream opinion.

I am sure many of those 130,000 participants expressed a very different view, and besides, there has been a very convincing poll in which nearly 800,000 people clearly indicated they do not deem the above acceptable. On top of that, we have seen many opinion makers, politicians and other officials speak out in favour of a much more democratic nomination committee or other forms of giving the public a real choice. Not to mention the 140k+ marchers on July 1, and the pro-dem lawmakers who gained over 1m votes in the 2012 LegCo elections.

Chief Nitwit CY Leung is increasingly beginning to resemble the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland, with Carrie Lam as the Red Queen by his side. Both have a vague, most symbolic connection to reality but are living in a world of their own.
chuchu59
I beg to differ. That would divide society even further. Instead, we could start looking at ways in how to ensure the nominating committee uses objective standards to nominate candidates and not merely complying with Beijing's wishes. We need a healthy stream of candidates on whom we could vote on. Otherwise, its meaningless.
gunzy
tell a lie a thousand times and it starts to sound like the truth eh?
.
1. It's not 800k people, it's 780k votes of which only 700k vote on one of the 3 proposals. The votes although mostly genuine, cannot be independently verified, and thus at best can only be considered an opinion poll. It is at best a representation of the voice of 800k people (I'll give you the remaining 100k) but in no way one can this be representative of the majority of HK.
.
2. the pro-dems played the game poorly in the 2012 LegCo elections, even they admitted to that; that's why they lost. Blaming it on the system makes them sore losers, that is all.
.
3. Having actually read the rather poorly written and boring report, the government went to great lengths to ensure that many dissenting views were detailed in the report.
.
I for one would like to see the government publish all 130,000 submissions to the public consultation.
.
We get to vote in 2017, it's a big step. We'll probably get runoff elections too if 1 candidate doesn't get 50% of the vote.
.
So we don't have public nomination; if a candidate is worthy of running HK, I doubt this person will have problems getting nominated to begin with. In the last election, even Albert Ho got nominated.
Paradox314
In the 2012 election pro-Beijing Parties received 42.66 % of the vote, while pro-Democracy parties collectively received 56.24 % of the vote. This was less than 2 years ago and if we look at the turnout in the unofficial nomination scheme referendum along with the huge turnout on July 1 (145,000 according to SCMP) then one must conclude that C.Y Leung and Carrie Lam's "mainstream" being in favour of closed nominations and retaining functional constituencies is just a complete misrepresentation of the real opinion / desire of Hong Kong people. This government is truly and completely illegitimate.
(source of data: ****en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Kong_legislative_election,_2012 )
mr.lobster
No re-election for CY Leung. He is ignoring the pleas of 800,000 Hong Kong people.
hkhk
Ok so let's have another public referendum, this time between a nominating committee and public nomination
mymak
Whether its pro-Beijing or not. Whether its public nomination or not. It doesn't matter when there are no real leaders from the pro-dem camp. Martin Lee was the last leader who didn't behave like a circus act. Long Hair et al are simply entertainers. CY and his brethren are tantamount to criminals (and not in the political sense, in all their other things - illegal structures, driving where they like, subdividing flats, etc.). So Beijing, give us universal suffrage. We already have freedom of speech. But give us a real leader to take us there and teach the next generation how to be more than just dodgy or theatrical.
gunzy
With regards to public nomination or appointed nomination, to be honest, I'm indifferent. As HK is right now, we need help choosing our leader, but it should change as we as a city mature politically. When we have a plethora of good competent leaders, it's probably in everyone's best interest to have public nomination; however we do not have an abundance of competent leaders.
.
I never felt that it was on the discussion table, no matter how much we wanted it to be. Instead of discussing other issues that were on the table like FC's and LegCo 2016 elections, we wasted our time on public nominations.

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