Democracy is vital for better governance in Hong Kong, a political scientist from Stanford University said yesterday. 'To those who argue that non-democratic institutions are necessary to preserve stability and prosperity in Hong Kong, I would ask how well the institutions have done that in recent years,' said Larry Diamond. Professor Diamond, mentor for former secretary for security Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee's master's thesis, was speaking at a seminar at Chinese University entitled 'Can the whole world be democratic?' He said there were problems of a non-democratic nature among institutions in Hong Kong. The chief executive, he said, floated above politics and had no basis of popular or party support and no organic means of securing majority support in the legislature. 'Hong Kong would get better governance and effective responses to policy challenges with democracy than without it.' But Professor Diamond pointed out that Beijing's position was vital for Hong Kong's future democratic development. 'Hong Kong is not going to get anywhere ... without the consent of Beijing.' He said it was important for various factions in society to reach a broad consensus on the institutional form that might make democracy possible and at the same time not threaten many of the interests in the city and on the mainland. Professor Diamond will today deliver a speech at a luncheon hosted by the Savantas Policy Institute formed by Mrs Ip.