Hong Kong must get its priorities straight, and focus on the historic 2017 universal suffrage election for the chief executive rather than a less important 2016 poll, says an executive councillor.
With the landmark 2017 event looming, Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun said more effort must be spent on forging a consensus on how universal suffrage is to be conducted. Law, who was speaking to the South China Morning Post, stressed that she was giving her personal opinion.
She did not see any need for substantial changes to the methods for electing lawmakers in 2016, such as increasing the proportion of directly elected seats in the legislature.
The 2016 Legco election is widely seen as an opportunity to pave the way for the election of all lawmakers on the "one man, one vote" principle in 2020.
Law opposes an "Occupy Central" movement, proposed by pro-democracy activists to spur the government into backing universal suffrage.
Resorting to such radical actions would undermine trust between Beijing and pan-democrats, Law warned. "It won't help forge a consensus on how to achieve universal suffrage in 2017. I hope all parties concerned can sit down and engage in rational discussion."
The Occupy Central plan was proposed in January by law professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting of Hong Kong University. He called for at least 10,000 protesters to block the roads in Central next year. Tai and other activists said they were losing patience with the government's lack of consultation on universal suffrage.
The National People's Congress Standing Committee said in December 2007 that universal suffrage would be allowed for the election of the chief executive in 2017, and the lawmakers three years later. But details have yet to be settled.
Law, the former secretary for education and manpower, said the earlier event had top priority.
"It would be better for a chief executive with a strong mandate to tackle the issue of how to forge a consensus on electing all lawmakers by universal suffrage," she said.
Separately, Law said that politically, it was not a good idea for the chief executive to send a lawyer's letter to the Hong Kong Economic Journal last month objecting to a commentary he claimed was defamatory.
Columnist Joseph Lian Yi-zheng had linked Leung to triad activity, citing comments by former Leung supporter Lew Mon-hung.
"For public office holders, sending a lawyer's letters only brings attention to their critics," Lam said.