• Wed
  • Oct 15, 2014
  • Updated: 8:56pm
NewsHong Kong

Will Hong Kong accept universal suffrage in 2017, in hope of increased democracy later?

Government hoping moderate pan-democrats can be won over before Beijing sets ground rules on 2017 election next month

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 July, 2014, 11:36am
UPDATED : Thursday, 31 July, 2014, 4:22am

Government officials hope to use the weight of public opinion and the prospect of a more democratic electoral system in future to press moderate pan-democrats to accept a model for the 2017 chief executive election that does not guarantee a real choice between candidates.

The government is keen to get moderate pan-democrats onside before China’s top legislature next month sets out its framework for electoral reform.

Pan-democrats are worried that the National People’s Congress Standing Committee will require candidates to win a high level of support from a nominating committee stacked with Beijing loyalists. Such a decision would anger those who want the public to be allowed to nominate.

Because any electoral reform package requires a two-thirds majority in the legislature, the government must win over at least five of the 27 pan-democratic lawmakers. And the government believes public backing is crucial, given the high-profile opposition to any kind of compromise from some democracy campaigners.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the official in charge of the government’s reform push, has several times in the past week stressed that the election model used in 2017 would not be final and could be changed in future.

Lam also stressed the results of a survey last month in which 54 per cent of some 1,000 respondents expressed support for a one-man, one-vote system in 2017, even if the nominating process was unsatisfactory.

The poll was commissioned by the Concern Group for Public Opinion on Constitutional Development, a group of liberal-minded professionals including three Democratic Party members and Andy Ho On-tat, former press director for ex-chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen.

The group met Lam on Friday, and is expected to release the results of a second poll just before the Standing Committee meets to make its decision next month.

A government source said the administration was hoping support for an imperfect reform proposal remained high.

“It can put pan-democrats under pressure to compromise on political reform,” the source said. “The government proposal to be announced later this year may not meet the expectations of some people. Yet members of the public should appreciate the fact that our electoral system has been improving since the handover.

SCMP Debate: How could the chief executive nominating committee be more representative?

“We believe most Hong Kong people are pragmatic and want early introduction of ‘one man, one vote’.”

Lam stressed in an article for The Wall Street Journal this week that arrangements for 2017 would not be “final” and that there was no need for an “all or nothing” approach from those who want the public to nominate candidates.

“We hope that our legislative councilors will display political courage and pragmatism to bring about change and provide our five million eligible voters with the opportunity to select the chief executive by 'one person, one vote' in 2017,” she wrote.

However, the government source agreed that a hardline stance from the Standing Committee would limit the Hong Kong administration’s room for manoeuvre.

The committee has been tipped to limit the number of candidates running to three, and to insist that all of the candidates would have to win the support of more than 50 per cent of nominating committee members, each of whom could cast multiple votes.



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"...compromise on political reform,..." So the people can be happy having a little democracy, like parents being a little pregnant?
What reform? Even Functional Constituencies to remain as an integral part of the completely dysfunctional system.
It is hard to see how the headline writer came up with "accept universal suffrage in 2017" when the entire article is about whether the public would accept a model short of universal suffrage (which by definition requires the voters be given a genuine choice). This would be done presumably in the hope of achieving full universal suffrage later. Of course it is hard to see why any democrat would accept a non-universal suffrage model in the vain hope of later getting universal suffrage.
They are hoping that if they keep kicking the can down the road, 2047 will arrive sooner that later and Basic Law and all its liberties and rights can go into the rubbish bin. Then comes the forced marriage with Shenzhen and the emptying out of Hong Kong....
that is what we are protesting against....
If you believe that's what will happen in 2047, what difference does it make? We are all doomed anyway! The alternative is that by 2047, China will have progressed enough to implement some degree of democracy. By going forward with universal suffrage in 2017, Hong Kong will be leading an experiment that may work for the rest of China. The CCP has every reason to support universal suffrage in HK, although in measured steps, if nothing else but as a controlled experiment of political reform.
OldPeak Toad
Remember the girl/boy you wanted to date, back there in your young days? And you kept on trying, and trying. And she/he kept on saying "maybe another time".
Actually, she/he meant: FORGET IT!
Going with your funny analogy, he/she didn't just say "maybe another time"......It's more like, "maybe another time, but let's just dance for now and here's my phone number...". Well, that's hopeful!
OldPeak Toad
How do you know about that one? Indeed, we danced a little bit, then the day after I called her number, but her dad answered the phone, and he said: FORGET IT!
So, in 2017 I will be 20 - same as the HKSAR - and all I am allowed to do is playing with myself!
The proof will be in the pudding. If Beijing had just kept its mouth shut, appointed a truly broad based committee to receive and review public nominations of 10 candidates it would likely have passed muster and this whole situation would have been obviated. But they could not hold back from gaming the system and the more that that supposed HK government became a mouthpiece for the communist party, and then the enlisting of the others who see their power weakening if greater democracy were to be implemented, as well as the inundating of the airwaves with communist party propaganda, it all became clear what it was that was going to happen. They responded as the tyrants that they are and blew their cover, which up until 2 years ago was good. In some ways it's good that they did not get to keep control surreptitiously but sad that it has caused such consternation between HK people as to stability vs. self-determination. At least the Beijing tools are amusing clowns.
One man, One vote, Three COMMUNISTS aka intra-party universial suffrage with Hong Kong SAR characteristics




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