The government’s political reform package has made use of all the leeway available under Beijing’s framework for the 2017 chief executive election, Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung told lawmakers this afternoon. Speaking after Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Yuen reiterated that, under Article 45 of the Basic Law, a nominating committee was the “one and only” entity empowered to put forward candidates for chief executive. “Therefore, allowing the public or political parties to nominate chief executive aspirants, which would wear down or bypass the power of the nominating committee, would violate Article 45 of Basic Law and thus should not be regarded as an argument to oppose,” the government’s reform plan, Yuen said. The 1,200-strong committee, based on the election committee that chose previous chief executives, is a key sticking point for pan-democrats, who are vowing to vote down the reform package in the Legislative Council later this week. Yuen also dismissed the idea that the nominating committee would serve to vet candidates politically, as pan-democrats suggested. He said every eligible person who wanted the top job could seek the support of the committee. Committee members would also name aspirants after considering the city’s long-term interests, rather than their personal preference, political stance or party calculation, Yuen added. Referring to public concern that the model for 2017, if approved, could not be changed in future, Yuen said that it was neither correct in law nor practical to have an election system that could never change. Annex 1(7) of the Basic Law clearly states that the model for the chief executive election could be amended with the endorsement of Legco, the consent of the chief executive and the approval of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Yuen said. The history of eastern and western countries showed that electoral systems would develop over time, he added.