11th July 2013
The Alliance for True Democracy, representing most of the Pan-Democratic legislators, announced three proposals for the Chief Executive election in 2017 via its scholar advisory board. The proposal includes a threshold of 80 thousand eligible voters for nomination, and the reform of the Nomination Committee by increasing its democratic elements. The advisory board said that they didn’t see any credibility of this universal suffrage system if participants with popular support fail to run the election. Chan Kin-man, one of the leading advocates of “Occupy Central”, said that if the Central Government accepts one of the proposals, or accepts its “main spirit”, “Occupy Central” will be avoidable.
The Basic Law Committee member Rao Geping said that public nominations have no legal grounds in the Basic Law. Pro-Beijing Camp also criticised that such proposal violates the Basic Law. Pro-democratic legislator claimed that the three proposals of the Alliance aim to prevent the Central Government from screening Chief Executive candidates.
The Alliance entrusted the scholar advisory board to research on the proposals for Chief Executive election. Three proposals, namely A, B and C, were announced yesterday (see the graph). Among the three proposals, A and C proposal include public nomination. A participant may become a candidate with the minimum support of around 2% of voters (around 70 to 80 thousand voters). Another proposal proposes for universal suffrage on the Nomination Committee. Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, the convenor of the Alliance, expected to consolidate a proposal at the end of the year after consulting the public.
Advocates of the movement “Occupy Central” claimed they will occupy Central next year on the condition that the government fails to deliver a universal suffrage meeting international standards. Chan Kin-man, one of the leading advocates of “Occupy Central”, said that the movement will not propose concrete proposals, but they will list out the principles and standards of universal suffrage. The election should meet international standards, and should be free from any unreasonable restrictions and with low entry barrier. Chan said that without considering whether the proposals fulfill the requirements of the Basic Law, the elements of the three proposals, such as the composition of the Nomination Committee, the minimum one-tenth nomination from the Committee, and the public nomination, fulfill the principles of democratic elections. If the Central Government accepts one of them, “Occupy Central” will be avoidable. He emphasised that “We are not occupying Central for the purpose of occupying it”. He said that he will invite experts to help examine whether the proposals fulfill the principles of democratic elections.
Ma Ngok, member of the scholar advisory board and the Associate Professor of the Department of Government and Public Administration of CUHK, said that the existence of the Nomination Committee in the three proposals serve to fulfill the requirement of the Basic Law, yet he thought that the details of the Committee, such as its composition the procedures to nominate candidates may be discussed. However, “if the Nomination Committee is a small-circle election, and that only the Committees have the rights to nominate, it fails to meet the international standards of universal suffrage”, said he.
Hao Tie-chun, Director of the Propaganda Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government, claimed that public nomination is against the Basic Law. Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, in responding to Mr. Hao’s comment, said that some member groups and the civil society insisted in public nomination, “No one can ignore the public opinion”, said he, if the Pro-Beijing Camp was that powerful, “why should they fear public nomination so much?”. Ma Ngok pointed out that if a participant gets 80 thousand nominations but fail to run the election due to his political view, “I don’t see any credibility of such election”, said he, “if someone says our proposals do not fulfill the Basic Law requirement and resolutions of the National People’s Congress, he should explain it.”
Qiao Xiao-yang, The National People’s Congress Law Committee member, criticised the pan-democrats “lead the Hong Kong people wandering in western gardens”. Ma Ngok responded that there are international standards for universal suffrage, “it is absurd if universal suffrage ends up as a suffrage with Chinese characteristics.”
Will the Central Government accepts the proposals? Joseph Cheng Yu-shek believed the Central Government will analyze the situation wisely. If citizens cannot build up consensus on the proposals, the Chief Executive will have no credibility.
The Hong Kong Government responded that it will be open to all comments and suggestions. It emphasized that in order to build up consensus and to achieve universal suffrage, “the Basic Law and the decisions of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee should be strictly adhered to in reforming the political system.”
The Alliance held another meeting last night, claiming that they will promote their proposals in coming future, which include four times promotions in the streets and fund-raising, holding public forums for two times, one discussion day for professionals, and to raise funds for polls and mock plebiscite. People Power calls for general assembly this Saturday to decide if the proposals of the Alliance to be accepted.