Although pan-democrats have snapped up more than a fourth of the total seats on the Chief Executive Election Committee, it appears many of them are still wavering as to what to do next.
The camp is yet to reach a consensus on how it should use its votes to influence the CE election outcome and facilitate our democratization process.
In my view, there are two options lying before the pan-democrats. One, they can nominate their own candidates to run in the election, like they did before, in order to make the voices of the public heard in the small-circle exercise and to inject real substance to the election debates.
Second, they can use the votes they have, which are enough to nominate two CE election candidates, to carry out political experiments such as civil nomination and civilian referendum so as to inject democratic elements as much as possible in the small-circle election.
By doing so they can highlight the injustice of the current election system and at the same time put some of the democratic theories proposed by liberal academics over the years to a real test, paving the way for further political progress.
However, many in the pro-democracy camp seem to favor a third option: which is, to root for former Financial Secretary John Tsang, because it has become almost an open secret that Tsang is their favorite.
However, the problem is, how can the pan-democrats justify supporting a pro-establishment figure like Tsang who will certainly toe Beijing’s line on every important issue and dare not say no to the so-called “831 Resolution”, while giving up on nominating someone who is fully committed to fighting for real universal suffrage and defending our core values?
I believe with 325 votes at their disposal, the pan-democrats are more than capable of toppling the status quo in the upcoming CE election. For example, they can engage the entire public by choosing their own candidate through the process of civil nomination in which all eligible voters in our city can participate.
They can also hold a referendum on critical issues such as the pace of our democratization in order to allow pan-democratic Election Committee members to gauge the latest public opinion on these fundamental matters, based on which they can decide who to vote for as the next CE.
As the decisive minority, what the pan-democrats must do is to challenge the status quo and highlight the injustice of our current system with their public mandate and their democratic values.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec. 28
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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