Date
18 August 2017
Anson Chan says the government cannot reject public nomination without commenting on the moderate proposals. Photo: HKEJ
Anson Chan says the government cannot reject public nomination without commenting on the moderate proposals. Photo: HKEJ

Anson Chan sees room for consensus on poll reform

Former chief secretary Anson Chan has urged the government to start discussions with pan-democrats on political reform, noting that there is room for all parties to reach a consensus, Apple Daily reported on Thursday.

Chan cited the three-track proposal raised by the Alliance for True Democracy, referring to the nomination of the candidates to the 2017 chief executive election by the public, political party or nominating committee.

While acknowledging the overwhelming turnout for Occupy Central’s unofficial referendum on universal suffrage, in which all three proposals included public nomination, Chan said the winning proposal does not mean that all three tracks have to be included.

At the same time, she said the government cannot reject public nomination without commenting on the moderate proposals. “There are only a few months left, I hope the government can lead Hong Kong people to achieve consensus,” Chan said in a speech at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club on Wednesday.

While about 780,000 Hong Kong people voted in the mock poll, signifying their desire for public nomination, Chan said many of them also chose the three-track proposal because they want to reach a consensus.

She said her own group, Hong Kong 2020, will continue discussions with other moderate groups in a bid to reach an agreement on universal suffrage, the report said.

Meanwhile, Ronny Tong, another moderate democrat, has set aside his proposal, which calls for more Hong Kong people to choose the members of the nominating committee, Sing Tao Daily reported.

Tong warned that both the pan-democrats and the central government would lose if there was no moderate proposal as a back-up.

He noted that the Occupy Central convenors had thought not too many people would participate in the mock polls, but Beijing’s white paper on the “one country, two systems” principle had encouraged them to vote for public nomination.

As a result, pan-democrats might not be able to support a moderate plan even if Beijing shows willingness to reach a consensus as many people now support public nomination, Tong said. Also, he said he can no longer pursue his proposal as he will be accused of supporting Beijing for not accepting public nomination.

“If the National People’s Congress decides to define public nomination as against the Basic Law, Occupy Central will be held in September, while people may come up with other solutions when they have learned the lesson,” Tong said. “Neither the pan-democratic group nor Beijing is giving in.”

The only chance for political reform to advance is if the government unveils a plan that does not involve public nomination but complies with international standards, he said, although he doubts if that will happen.

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