Hong Kong chief executive hopefuls to be grilled by Election Committee members and internet users in final debate

Candidates will answer questions by voters and address a collection of online queries, followed by closing remarks

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 19 March, 2017, 5:02pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 19 March, 2017, 5:02pm

Three Hong Kong chief executive candidates will cross swords again in a third and final debate on Sunday night as they face questions from voters who will elect the city’s next leader.

The debate, co-organised by a group of Election Committee members from across the political spectrum, will take place at AsiaWorld-Expo between 7pm and 9pm.

On March 26, the committee’s 1,194 members will decide which of the three candidates – former chief secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, former financial secretary John Tsang Chun-wah or retired judge Woo Kwok-hing – will govern Hong Kong for the next five years.

The trio will kick off Sunday night’s debate with three minutes each to introduce their policy platforms.

In the last debate on March 14, the introductions were followed by questions from the media and the audience – comprising 200 members of the public randomly selected by two universities – as well as a “free fight” session for the three candidates to direct their questions at each other.

But this time, the format will be different – Election Committee members will grill the candidates for an hour instead.

The trio will then answer questions picked by the hosts from hundreds of entries collected from internet users in the past week.

The night will end with concluding remarks from the candidates.

Members from the League of Social Democrats, People Power and Demosisto are understood to have planned for a protest at the scene to call for greater democracy in the chief executive election.

Readers can follow live coverage of the debate in English on scmp.com. Send us your comments and we will post the best of them.

During the televised debate on March 14, Lam and Tsang traded blows, with the former chief secretary dropping a bombshell by pledging to “resign” if the mainstream view was against her after being elected.

Lam later clarified her comment, saying she meant that she would quit if mainstream opinion – not popularity ratings – in society clashed with her duty to execute the Basic Law.

The three candidates appeared on stage together for the first time in a debate organised by the Professional Teachers’ Union on March 5.