Legal scholar Albert Chen Hung-yee has named three politicians with a pan-democratic background as suitable candidates for the 2017 election for chief executive, Apple Daily reported Tuesday.
Chen, a member of the Basic Law Committee, said the central government could accept Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, undersecretary for the environment Christine Loh and executive councilor Anna Wu Hung-yuk as candidates although they were considered pan-democrats in the past.
In response, Cheung said via a spokesman that his goal is to serve out his term until June 2017 and has made no further plans.
Loh refused to comment on the matter when she turned up at the Legislative Council Monday for a meeting. Wu was unavailable for comment.
Chen, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Hong Kong, has been a keen supporter of the government’s proposal for political reform.
He urged the public to take what is on the table first and has suggested that voters could cast blank votes if they find all the candidates unacceptable.
Chen said in an interview earlier that Beijing would only put forward candidates it can totally trust, but that does not mean there are no candidates from within the pan-democratic camp.
He said that if the central government did not have faith in Cheung, Loh and Wu, they would not be holding important positions now.
Cheung was formerly vice-chairman of the Democratic Party and has been rumored to be a “dark horse” for the 2017 race.
Loh won direct election to Legco the in 1990s and founded the now-defunct Citizens Party in 1997.
Wu has been active on the local political scene since the 1970s and called in the early 1980s for the Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong to protect human rights and the rule of law in the city.
Rita Fan, a member of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said it is too early to comment on chief executive hopefuls.
“Let’s wait until universal suffrage is confirmed before we talk about names,” she said.
Fan also refused to comment on whether the three candidates Chen suggested are people who are patriotic to the country and Hong Kong.
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