Date
23 July 2018
To involve the public as much as possible, the pan-democrats should base their CE nomination decisions partly on candidates’ popularity in addition to their election pledges. Photo: HKEJ
To involve the public as much as possible, the pan-democrats should base their CE nomination decisions partly on candidates’ popularity in addition to their election pledges. Photo: HKEJ

A tiny piece of advice on CE nomination

The upcoming chief executive election would probably be the single most important political event since the handover that would have the most profound and far-reaching implications for our society, our economy and our democratization process as a whole for years to come.

Every person in Hong Kong who is truly concerned about the future should pay close attention to this election, carefully scrutinize the election pledges and political views of all the candidates and make their voices heard through whatever channel is available, because everything is at stake in this election.

Even though the vast majority of Hong Kong people are not eligible to vote, with everyone of us doing our bit in our own way, we can still influence the election outcome and play a part in shaping our own future.

First things first. Since now the entire picture of the CE race is becoming clearer and clearer, with retired judge Woo Kwok-hing, former security chief Regina Ip and former chief secretary Carrie Lam already having declared their candidacies, and former financial secretary John Tsang expected to follow suit very soon, the first issue they have to deal with is how to persuade at least 150 Election Committee members to nominate each of them so that they can become official candidates.

In this article I am going to advise both the pan-democrats and the pro-establishment blocs on how to cast their nomination votes so as to serve the best interests of the people of Hong Kong.

As far as the pan-democratic members on the Election Committee are concerned, I have learned that they have decided to separate the nomination and voting decisions this time, i.e. they may nominate candidate A but might in the end vote for candidate B, depending on the degree to which the candidates are willing to meet their demands.

While they are yet to agree on how exactly they are going to do that, I strongly advise them to seriously consider a proposal on civil nomination recently put forward by some members of the pan-democratic camp.

It works like this: the major criteria, among other things, for pan-democratic Election Committee members to decide whether or not to nominate a candidate are not only their election pledges but more importantly their popularity.

For example, if a candidate is able to pass a certain threshold, say getting 5 percent of public support, then the pan-democrats should give him or her 150 votes in order to allow them to become official candidates, thereby using the 325 votes the pan-democrats have in the Election Committee to facilitate a da facto civil nomination mechanism without provoking any controversy over whether it is in line with the Basic Law.

In such a way, the pan-democrats can introduce as much democratic elements and public participation into this small circle election as possible, and allow the general public to play a part in it.

After all, according to Beijing, one’s popularity is an important criterion to judge whether he or she is fit for the city’s top job.

To find out the popularity of the various candidates, the pro-democracy camp can commission an independent body to organize a large-scale and territory-wide opinion poll on the approval ratings of the candidates.

If a candidate is able to pass a certain threshold, let’s say, 5 percent of public support, then he or she should get the nomination by the pan-democrats.

As far as members of the pro-establishment camp are concerned, instead of just rubber-stamping whoever Beijing has handpicked for the top job, I urge them to follow their heart and exercise their own free will when casting their votes.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Jan. 18

Translation by Alan Lee

[Chinese version 中文版]

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RT/RA

Former Secretary for the Civil Service of the Hong Kong Government

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