Date
20 October 2017
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam says future amendments to the election framework can be triggered by a legal process, Photo: Reuters
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam says future amendments to the election framework can be triggered by a legal process, Photo: Reuters

Lam in damage control after controversial election proposal

Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam is defending the government’s election proposal just hours after she unveiled it in the Legislative Council on Wednesday, prompting a walkout by some pan-democrat legislators.

Some people said the proposal leaves no room for improvement and accepting it now “means accepting it forever”, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday.

Also, there is no assurance from the Hong Kong government or the central authorities in Beijing about a more optimal system in future elections, they said.

Lam said the purpose of electing a chief executive by universal suffrage under Article 45 of the Basic Law would be fulfilled if the proposal is passed.

In addition, she said amendments can be triggered by a legal process under the next chief executive.

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam said the election method, even if approved, is not set in stone.

Tam compared the process to buying a flat in which a person fulfills the final objective of ownership but is not precluded from renovating it or replacing it.

Lam said the government proposal is constitutional, legal and reasonable, providing for more democracy and competition.

It is broadly in line with a Beijing-backed election framework in which two to three chief executive candidates will be chosen by a nominating panel likely packed with China loyalists. They will subsequently face election by one man, one vote.

Hong Kong people should have no illusion that Beijing will make any concessions, the report said, citing sources close to the Chinese government.

On Wednesday, 23 lawmakers who have pledged to vote down the proposal walked off the chamber in protest.

The government expects a vote on the proposal this summer, according to reports.

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