Chief Secretary Carrie Lam is warning that defeat of the election reform bill will worsen social divisions and ultimately hurt Hong Kong.
On Monday, Lam wrote an op-ed in major newspapers after appearing on radio talk shows a day earlier in a final push for the Beijing-backed proposal which will be tabled in Legco on Wednesday.
A vote is expected shortly after.
The road to democracy is a bumpy one and any deviation from its legal basis will make universal suffrage unachievable, Lam wrote.
In an appearance on Commercial Radio, Lam said pan-democrats who have vowed to vote against the bill have misjudged the situation.
They are wrong to think that by simply adopting a hard line, they could force Beijing to change its mind and that a plan backed by them would pass, Lam said.
She accused them of making the work of the government difficult in the past 20 months.
She said the bottom line is an Aug. 31 decision by the National People’s Congress standing committee that sets out the framework for the 2017 chief executive election.
Beijing will not pay any price to win support for the proposal from pan-democrats, she said.
While saying there’s zero chance the bill will pass, Lam expressed hope pan-democrats will have a change of heart at the last minute.
Lam, who is widely seen as a potential chief executive candidate, said she has no plans to seek public office after her tenure ends in two years.
Civic Party lawmaker Alan Leong accused Lam of setting up the pan-democratic camp for blame if the reform bill is voted down and universal suffrage does not come to pass.
And Democratic Party chief Emily Lau called Lam’s remarks “incoherent”.
Lau defended the pan-democracts’ stance on the reform plan as “a matter of conscience”, not an attempt to win votes in the next Legco election.
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