Consensus on a suggestion to let all Hong Kong citizens vote in the 2012 chief executive election provided the candidates are vetted by a nominating committee has been reached by a top advisory body. Head of the Central Policy Unit Lau Siu-kai said almost all members of the Commission on Strategic Development's Committee on Governance and Political Development supported the nominating committee regime. Professor Lau said most members at yesterday's committee meeting wanted to see a contest featuring more than one candidate. He said there was no consensus on the composition or size of the committee, but suggestions ranged from 800 to 1,600. 'They agreed that the nominating committee should be broadly representative,' the professor said. He said the main concern was how to ensure that the candidates - even those who secured enough nominations - would be accepted by the central government. A government source said Beijing would only accept the nominating committee model when safeguards on the quality of candidates were in place. The source said Beijing's main concern was that Hong Kong would return someone like Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, who is known for his pro-independence and anti-Beijing stance. 'The central government has no confidence in introducing universal suffrage to Hong Kong even in 2012', particularly after the Legislative Council vetoed constitutional reform proposals, according to the source. To ease Beijing's fears, some members suggested introducing other 'thresholds' for candidates. Professor Lau said one such suggestion was to have a pre-election before the direct election. 'For example, candidates should be selected by the nominating committee first after the nomination procedure, and then go for universal suffrage,' the professor said.