Vote: One last pitch

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE -

Se­nior lo­cal of­fi­cials made a last-minute pitch in the coun­cil cham­ber on Wed­nes­day be­fore the de­lib­er­a­tions be­gan, with Chief Sec­re­tary Car­rie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor stress­ing that the elec­toral over­haul plan is the best pos­si­ble op­tion.

Lam said that un­der this plan, as­pi­rants for the top job will put for­ward man­i­festos that “bet­ter ad­dress the needs of the masses”.

She rec­og­nized ef­forts by some to forge con­sen­sus, but said the op­po­si­tion camp’s ad­vo­cacy of “un­con­sti­tu­tional pro­pos­als” and the “Oc­cupy Cen­tral” cam­paign last year had added ob­sta­cles to the city’s first uni­ver­sal suf­frage elec­tion — a goal promised in the Ba­sic Law.

Jus­tice Sec­re­tary Rim­sky Yuen Kwok-ke­ung dis­missed fears that the elec­tion de­sign will be set “for­ever”, say­ing a statu­tory mech­a­nism to op­ti­mize the elec­tion meth­ods is pro­vided for un­der the Ba­sic Law.

Twenty- five law­mak­ers spoke be­fore the meet­ing was ad­journed at 8 pm. All the leg­is­la­tors who spoke re­it­er­ated their po­si­tion on the re­form pack­age, in­clud­ing 16 op­po­si­tion mem­bers who promised to ex­er­cise their veto power.

Starry Lee Wai-king, head of the Demo­cratic Al­liance for the Bet­ter­ment and Progress of Hong Kong, ac­cused or­ga­niz­ers and sup­port­ers of the illegal oc­cu­pa­tion move­ment of not re­spect­ing the Con­sti­tu­tion and the Ba­sic Law.

The Civic Party’s Ronny Tong Ka-wah agreed that the op­po­si­tion’s at­ti­tude was an ob­sta­cle to con­sen­sus.

Out­side the coun­cil head­quar­ters, hun­dreds of peo­ple from all walks of life voiced their sup­port for the re­form pro­pos­als.

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