Date
22 November 2017
Raymond Tam says most Hong Kong people want universal suffrage and therefore the government should take action proactively to meet their wish. Photo: HKEJ
Raymond Tam says most Hong Kong people want universal suffrage and therefore the government should take action proactively to meet their wish. Photo: HKEJ

Tam urges govt to restart political reform process soon

The government should restart the so-called five-step political reform process as soon as possible to achieve universal suffrage in the next chief executive election in 2022, former secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen said.

In an interview with the Hong Kong Economic Journal, Tam, who is running for election as a Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress (NPC) in December, said it will take at least 18 months to two years for legislation to materialize, giving every qualified citizen the right to vote for Hong Kong’s leader.

Most Hong Kong people want universal suffrage and therefore the government should take action proactively to meet their wish, Tam said.

The five-step process of constitutional development is based on the NPC Standing Committee’s interpretation in 2004 as set out in the Basic Law.

First, the chief executive reports to the NPCSC on the need to amend the methods for electing the chief executive and Legislative Council.

Second, the committee determines whether the electoral methods need to be amended.

Third, the Hong Kong government tables its proposed amendments to Legco and a two-thirds majority is required for them to pass.

Fourth, the chief executive gives consent to the plan approved by Legco.

Fifth, the chief executive submits a report to the committee for approval or for the record.

In June 2015, lawmakers vetoed the reform package proposed by the government for the 2017 chief executive election. The pan-democrats wanted citizens to directly vote for their next leader without the candidates having to be pre-selected by a committee.

Tam said the design of the five-step plan shows it must be initiated by the chief executive but it is not being treated as a priority by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.

More than 90 percent of her recent policy address were about social, economic and livelihood issues, suggesting Lam has no intention to push for political reform in the coming year, Tam said.

He said the window for political reform to allow “one man, one vote” for the 2022 chief executive election is closing and it takes time to go through the five steps.

Tam pledged to act as a bridge to improve communication between Hong Kong and Beijing once he is elected deputy to the NPC.

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TL/JC/RA

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