A leading light of the Beijingloyalist camp has given a gloomy prognosis for hopes of consensus on political reform.
Elsie Leung Oi-sie, a former justice chief and now vice-chairwoman of the Basic Law Committee, says huge differences remain over how to elect the chief executive in 2017, as the government's five-month consultation approaches its halfway point.
"I hope everyone can stop insisting on their own ideas," Leung told TVB's On the Record yesterday. "They should look to the long-term development of political reform, instead of worrying about personal gain or loss."
She criticised pan-democrats for demanding that the nominating committee that will choose chief executive hopefuls be reformed from the election committee that chose previous chief executives. The 1,200 strong committee is divided between four sectors - commercial, professional, social and political - and pan-democrats claim it is packed with Beijing loyalists.
"The current four sectors are all critical to Hong Kong," she said, adding that representation was defined not by the number of people on the committee but by how representative the sectors were. "It will be impossible to reach consensus [on 2017] if the public scrutinises changes to the nominating committee."
But Civic Party lawmaker Ronny Tong Ka-wah, who suggested adding about 400 directly elected district councillors to the body, said the present committee "had no representation at all".
"Only 40 out of 1,200 members are directly elected," said Tong. "We may keep the four sectors - but we have to do something [about representation]."
He also called on the government to organise more talks between its officials, lawmakers and Beijing representatives.