23 February 2019
Li Fei is shown on a camera monitor as he gives a briefing on the election reform package. Photo: AFP
Li Fei is shown on a camera monitor as he gives a briefing on the election reform package. Photo: AFP

Leung urges pan-democrats not to rush into a ‘no’ vote

Chief Executive Leung Chung-yin is urging pan-democrats not to rush into a decision to vote down an election framework endorsed by Beijing but to try to find common ground, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Monday.

“We don’t need to estimate the odds of the electoral reform plan being passed and pan-democrats don’t have to reject the plan within hours of its announcement,” Leung told a media briefing Monday.

On Sunday, the National People’s Congress (NPC) announced an election reform proposal that provides for direct election of Hong Kong’s next chief executive but gives Beijing control of the nomination process by screening the candidates on patriotic standards.

That makes it impossible for any pan-democrat to be on the ballot, according to pro-democracy groups.

Leung echoed Basic Law Committee chairman Li Fei who said most pan-democrats are patriotic, and urged them to seek common ground, the report said.

“The NPC decision reflects the key principles but does not rule out some people from participating in the election,” Leung said.

Leung’s remarks were interrupted by protesters demanding real universal suffrage.

Earlier, police used pepper spray to disperse demonstrators from the radical Civic Passion group outside AsiaWorld Expo on Lantau island where Li Fei was holding a briefing.

Some of the protesters attempted to force their way through the barricades to try to get into the conference hall. One demonstrator said police sprayed pepper into his eyes and accused officers of using excessive force.

Local NPC deputies were invited to Li Fei’s two-hour speech, including Maria Tam, who was heckled as she was about to talk to reporters.

Raphael Wong, a member of League of Social Democrats asked her: “If Hong Kong people had not voted for you, how would you become an NPC deputy and be able to attend this meeting?”.

Tam ignored the question, the report said.

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