21 March 2019
In 2012, 689 of the 1,200 members of the Election Committee voted for Leung Chun-ying to be chief executive. Photo: HKEJ
In 2012, 689 of the 1,200 members of the Election Committee voted for Leung Chun-ying to be chief executive. Photo: HKEJ

Govt to propose polls, debates as part of political reform

The government will propose holding opinion polls and public debates during the nomination process for candidates for chief executive in the 2017 election, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.

This is one of the suggestions that it will put to Hongkongers Wednesday in the second phase of the public consultation on political reform, the report said, citing unnamed sources in the administration.

The suggestion is an attempt to increase the transparency of the nomination process, they said.

Among other options to be put to the public, potential candidates in the 2017 election might need just one-eighth, or even fewer, of the votes from the 1,200-member nomination committee to be considered for nomination for chief executive, the sources said.

The constitutional development task force led by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor will announce details of the second phase of the consultation, set to last two months, at Legco on Wednesday.

TV commercials will also be rolled out, but there will be no consultation sessions at the district level, as the authorities fear there might be chaos.

Rather, political parties and other organizations will be invited for discussions at government headquarters.

The government estimates that if the Legislative Council rejects the political reform bill, it could take more than 10 years before such a bill is introduced again.

So the government hopes the pan-democrats will seriously consider supporting the bill, the sources told the newspaper.

While the minimum proportion of nomination committee votes for a candidate to be considered could be one-eighth, or 150 votes, the government could also impose a ceiling of 300 votes for any individual, so as to avoid monopolizing of votes, the sources said.

The report said the government hopes at least four people will become eligible to stand for election after the initial screening by the committee.

Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the Labour Party, said lowering the entry requirement is meaningless if a person still needs to secure over half of the votes from the nomination committee to become an official candidate.

He said the so-called new suggestions from the government in no way help pan-democrats to be eligible to run for chief executive.

Alan Leong Kah-kit, leader of the Civic Party, said the pan-democrats will definitely vote against the political reform bill if the government does not back down on the vote requirements for an individual to become a candidate.

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