China may allow a certain number of seats on the chief executive election committee to be returned by the public, Apple Daily reported Wednesday.
The concession is in return for support from pan-democrats for Beijing’s political reform proposal on the 2017 election for Hong Kong’s next leader.
Pro-establishment groups have stepped up lobbying for the Beijing proposal since a recent meeting with Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s legislature.
The NPC is expected to announce a final election model during its annual session in August.
The pan-democrats are calling for talks on the proposal, saying increasing the proportion of publicly elected members of the election committee is not enough.
They want a lower qualification threshold for candidates or the process will not be up to international standards, the report said.
Pro-democracy groups want a public nomination model for choosing the candidates while Beijing prefers screening by a committee along patriotic lines.
Elsie Leung, vice chair of the Basic Law Committee, said the pan-democrats should first take what is on the table and work out the details later.
Democratic Party legislator Albert Ho said the bottom line is that any election method must meet international standards. He said the party could take the matter to the people in a referendum.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying offered his government as a bridge between Beijing and the pan-democrats in the five weeks leading up to the NPC session, Ming Pao Daily reported.
Former chief secretary Anson Chan, convenor of political group Hong Kong 2020, said the incumbent No. 2, Carrie Lam, should stop the hard sell of a proposal not even acceptable to herself or risk ruining her reputation, the report said.
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