A nominating committee of up to 2,400 voters could pick candidates for chief executive in 2017, under a complex reform proposal from a group of economists and academics.
The group proposes giving all 3.5 million registered voters a say in choosing 1,200 members of the committee, while the other half would be made up of the Election Committee that picked previous chief executives. Anyone wanting to join would need the support of 2,500 members of the public, and a certain number of the some 200,000 voters who choose Election Committee members.
Candidates would need 20 per cent of the vote in an internal committee election to go forward to the public vote. The scheme's 13 backers include Professor Liu Pak-wai, director of Chinese University's Institute of Global Economics and Finance, leading University of Hong Kong economist Professor Richard Wong Yue-chim and National People's Congress delegate Priscilla Lau Pui-king.
The plan was announced four days before the government's consultation ends, and as Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, who heads the consultation, expressed pessimism over the prospects for a deal.
The difficulty was reflected in rival plans put forward by rural powerbrokers the Heung Yee Kuk and the Democratic Party.
The kuk says all candidates should need the support of 10 per cent of nominating committee members in each of the four sectors: business, professional, social and political, plus majority support from the committee. Democrats said the idea would "screen out" critical candidates.
The Democrats say the public, political parties and a nominating committee, for which corporations would not have votes, should all get to pick candidates.