Liberal Party lawmaker James Tien has hit back at suggestions the public should nominate and vote for chief executive candidates, saying such a system would be no different from independence, Metro Daily reported Friday.
Tien made the comments in debate on a Metro Radio show Thursday morning in response to Civic Party legislator Dennis Kwok who said universal suffrage should mean the freedom to nominate candidates for the city’s top job. “Why do I have to choose from candidates screened by the nominating committee?” Kwok said.
Kwok also said the central government should respect the voting rights of the Hong Kong people.
But Tien countered, saying it should not be total freedom of choice, the report said.
The duo, together with Democratic Party’s Emily Lau and Ann Chiang from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, were discussing the political reform report handed to the central government Tuesday.
One of the submission’s other areas of contention was the statement that no changes are needed to the way the Legislative Council operates for 2016.
Tien said Legco’s functional constituencies should stay but he was disappointed the report did not suggest expanding the council’s voting eligibility to include more people.
Emily Lau said the government’s failure to push for change in the area violates the Basic Law, given that the mini-constitution calls for Legco elections to be reformed step by step.
The Metro Daily report cited Basic Law committee member Maria Tam as saying that the National People’s Congress determined in 2007 that the 2017 chief executive election should be a higher political reform priority than changes to Legco’s electoral procedures. And that’s why there are no suggested changes to the Legco process.
The Liberal Party also placed anti-Occupy Central advertisements in several major newspapers including the Hong Kong Economic Journal and Ming Pao Daily, saying the movement will harm Hong Kong’s economy and international image.
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