The Alliance for True Democracy will ask Hongkongers how they think the city's chief executive should be chosen, its convenor says, amid concern that a "referendum" run by campaign group Occupy Central forces will present only limited options.
Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek says the group will carry out an opinion poll next month, just before the Occupy vote which has led to a rift between moderates and radicals in the alliance and caused the Democratic Party to announce it will withdraw from alliance activities.
Radical members of the alliance were accused of rallying supporters to join the Occupy meetings that shortlisted three possible models for the 2017 chief executive election ahead of the vote, and of encouraging them to vote against the alliance's own plan. The shortlist includes only models that allow the public to nominate candidates, which Beijing says is unconstitutional.
Cheng acknowledged concerns that turnout in the Occupy poll could be affected by the limited options. Hence the alliance, which represents 26 of the 27 pan-democratic lawmakers, would run its own survey.
"Even if they say they support the proposal of the [Beijing-loyalist] Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, we will report the finding as it is," Cheng said.
The survey is pencilled in for June 15-18, with a sample size of 1,000 people. Three questions will be asked: what political reform proposals have you heard of? Which proposals do you like? And which of the plans put forward by Occupy do you prefer?
By contrast, Occupy's poll the following week will be open to all registered voters. It will offer only three possibilities, including the alliance's "three-track" plan which gives nominating power to the public, political parties, and the nominating committee stipulated in the Basic Law. The other options, put forward by People Power and student campaign group Scholarism, give nominating powers to the public.
Moderate pan-democrats wanted the poll to include an option under which the committee alone would have the power to pick candidates, as the Basic Law stipulates. They say a low turnout will hit the poll's credibility.
The Democratic Party decided last week that it would cease to participate in the alliance's activities after the Occupy vote ends on June 22 in protest at the behaviour of the People Power and the League of Social Democrats members. Cheng said he hoped the party would still work with the alliance after it left.