70% of Hongkongers would support amended reform, group says

May 08, 2015 10:50
About 51 percent of those interviewed in the survey supported the official reform package (left), while about 42 percent opposed it. Photos: Xinhua, AFP

A political reform concern group said the latest surveys suggest public support for the government’s reform proposal could rise from 50 percent to 70 percent if certain enhancements are made, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday.

The concern group is led by veteran Democratic Party members Fred Li Wah-ming and Tik Chi-yuen, together with Shih Wing-ching, co-founder of Centaline Property Agency.

It said if the government is willing to consider abolishing corporate votes for election of members of the nomination committee and introduce blank votes to allow voters to register their disapproval of candidates for chief executive in the 2017 election, it would considerably boost public support for the package.

Elsie Leung Oi-sie, vice-chairwoman of the Basic Law Committee, said earlier that the blank vote option is not a part of the government’s political reform proposal, but she said converting the corporate votes into individual votes is “theoretically possible”.

In a survey done by the concern group between April 27 and May 2, 50.8 percent of the 1,022 people interviewed indicated support for the government’s proposal, while 41.7 percent of them wanted it voted down.

Those against the proposal were then asked if they would change their mind if the blank vote option were added, corporate votes abolished and the National People’s Congress promised that the method for the election for chief executive would be improved after 2017.

Of those people, 47.5 percent said they would support the government’s proposal if the blank vote option were included, and abolishing corporate votes would make 56 percent change their mind.

The concern group said that if those two changes were made, the overall support rate for the government’s proposal could rise by 20 percentage points to 70 percent.

If all three proposed conditions were met, the overall support rate could even hit 80.6 percent.

Shih said the survey results are for reference only, as making new changes could drive away some of the people who originally supported the government proposal.

Some supporters of the pro-establishment camp, for example, could change their mind about the reform package if the blank vote option were introduced, he said.

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