Date
22 November 2017
The standing committee of the National People's Congress chaired by Zhang Dejiang is likely to uphold the nominating committee as the sole body to recommend candidates to the 2017 election. Photo: Xinhua
The standing committee of the National People's Congress chaired by Zhang Dejiang is likely to uphold the nominating committee as the sole body to recommend candidates to the 2017 election. Photo: Xinhua

Beijing set to reject calls for public nomination

Despite the massive pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Beijing will reject calls for public nomination of the candidates to the 2017 chief executive election when it unveils its decision on political reform next month, local newspapers reported.

The National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, which is expected to set the rules for universal suffrage in the city in August, will amend the procedures for the 2017 chief executive election, but it will uphold the nominating committee as the sole body to recommend those who can run in the poll, Sing Tao Daily reported on Thursday, citing an unidentified source. 

It will also affirm that there is no need to amend the Basic Law for the 2016 Legislative Council elections, the report said.

The NPC will lay down the principles on the appointment of members of the nominating committee and set a ceiling on the number of candidates for the 2017 poll, according to the newspaper.

The report on the public consultation conducted by the political reform group led by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and the report made by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to the central government will be released next week. Both reports will mark the conclusion of the first phase of the political reform.

The next step is expected to start next month, when the NPC launches a review of Hong Kong’s political system and comes up with a decision on the best way to implement universal suffrage in the 2017 election.

On Tuesday, China’s ambassador to Britain Liu Xiaoming told the Financial Times that he is unaware of any British prime minister or American president who has been selected through public nomination after working in these two countries for many years.

Since electoral systems vary from country to country, it is obvious that there is no “international standard” to speak of, Liu said. The pan-democratic camp is demanding that the method of choosing the next chief executive should be in line with international standards.

Meanwhile, no substantial changes are expected to be made for the 2016 Legco election as CY Leung’s report on political reform will not touch on the legislative poll, Sing Tao Daily said, citing an unnamed source.

It is likely that the system will remain as it is now, with lawmakers elected directly or from the functional constituencies, although representation of the functional constituencies may be expanded, the newspaper said.

Civil Party leader Alan Leong said, meanwhile, said the tense relationship between the administrative and legislative councils is mainly due to the injustice coming from the functional constituencies, and the only way to resolve this is to adopt universal suffrage for the Legislative Council election, Apple Daily reported.

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