Date
19 January 2017
Placards symbolizing a vote against the government's controversial electoral roadmap are displayed in Legco during the start of legislative debate on Wednesday. Photo: AFP
Placards symbolizing a vote against the government's controversial electoral roadmap are displayed in Legco during the start of legislative debate on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Election reform vote: Moment of truth could come anytime soon

Legislators continue deliberations on an election reform bill and a vote could come as early as Thursday afternoon or Friday at the latest, according to reports.

The Legislative Council opened debate on the measure Wednesday shortly after Chief Secretary Carrie Lam launched the proposal.

At stake is whether Hong Kong will have a direct election for its next leader by popular vote in 2017.

Lam used her speech to rally last-minute support for the bill which Beijing backs and pro-democracy groups want crushed, saying it’s fake democracy.

She warned lawmakers that the proposal has caused enough social divisions and mistrust and expressed hope they will use their vote to reflect the wishes of Hong Kong people.

Ming Pao Daily is reporting that pan-democrats who hold the key to its passage are unmoved.

In Wednesday’s debate, 16 pan-democrats took turns to reaffirm their opposition to the proposal. Nine proponents spoke.

Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau responded to Lam, saying it is the government that is tearing society apart.

She said the government should go back to the people and begin a dialogue with all parties once the bill is voted down.

Labor Party lawmaker Cyd Ho accused the government of pushing its passage at all cost, even at the expense of social harmony.

And Civic Party’s Ronny Tong warned of “disaster” if the government forces its way through, although he said everyone has something to lose if the bill is rejected.

Starry Lee, chairperson of the pro-reform Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), said last year’s democracy protests are to blame if the reform plan fails.

Civic Party leader Alan Leong said a veto will vindicate those who have been fighting for genuine democracy.

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