23 February 2019
Regina Yip (center) and Antony Leung (right) are among the reputable names who may be in the running to take over from Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: HKEJ
Regina Yip (center) and Antony Leung (right) are among the reputable names who may be in the running to take over from Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. Photo: HKEJ

Reputable names may be trotted out for reform push, Tien says

The Hong Kong government is expected to bring out the big guns to encourage more people to accept the Beijing-proposed election framework.

It may trot out some reputable names who may have plans to run in the next chief executive election, the Liberal Party said.

But the Civic Party said the names would have to be anointed by Beijing, so having choices is misleading.

The Liberal Party is undertaking a study on whether people would accept universal suffrage without any pan-democratic candidate or reject the Beijing proposal.

More than 66 percent of those polled so far are for universal suffrage, the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the parent publication of, reported Monday, citing Liberal Party chief James Tien. 

Tien said one possible move for the government is to name a few people who may want to run for chief executive including pan-democrats who are patriotic. This would show people there are decent choices.

Of course, it will be “impossible” to have radicals such as Lee Cheuk-yan, he said.

There are reputable names in the pro-Beijing camp such as Regina Yip, the former secretary for security, and Antony Leung, the former financial secretary.

Tien said the candidates will need the support of the pan-democrats if they want to get enough votes.

However, Civic Party chairwoman Audrey Eu asked people to vote against the Beijing framework because accepting it would mean killing one country, two systems.

The public should not be a tool of the government and should not think that they have a choice as the candidates must be appointed by Beijing, she said.

“I bet Leung Chun-ying will neither dismiss Legco nor resign, so we can just wait for the 2016 election until [the government] understands that a mature, legal society does not accept dictatorship,” Eu said. According to articles 50 and 52, the chief executive can dismiss the Legislative Council if it does not pass any important bill and if the re-elected Legco still rejects the bill, the chief executive must resign. 

Eu said only one candidate would be appointed although there could be three choices under the Beijing framework. For example, it could be Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor running with “two small potatoes” and she will not run with Executive Councillor Bernard Chan or Regina Yip.

Separately, Legco president Jasper Tsang said every party is a loser if political reform does not move forward.

It is a pity the reform is not according to his wish but he understands Beijing’s concern, Ming Pao Daily quoted him as saying. 

It would be easier to improve the framework if it is passed as there will be no turning back once universal suffrage is implemented, while it is hard to imagine that the central government will have a proposal supported by pan-democrats five years later if the framework was rejected, he said.

The future chief executive would have to take a stand on political reform as the candidates woud have to win votes from the Hong Kong people instead of just the 1,200-member nominating committee, Tsang said.

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