Po­lit­i­cal re­form should pro­ceed step by step, says Elsie Le­ung

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By KAHON CHAN in Hong Kong kahon@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Se­lect­ing the next Chief Ex­ec­u­tive (CE) by uni­ver­sal suf­frage would be a huge leap for­ward for Hong Kong — and re­forms should be made step by step, said Elsie Le­ung Oi-sie, vicechair­woman of the HKSAR Ba­sic Law Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress Stand­ing Com­mit­tee (NPCSC).

The vet­eran politi­cian told a ra­dio pro­gram on Wed­nes­day that any pro­posal for the 2017 CE Elec­tion must fol­low the Ba­sic Law pro­vi­sions and de­ci­sions by the NPCSC.

The Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee would lose its con­sti­tu­tional power if can­di­dates were qual­i­fied by a pe­ti­tion to just a cer­tain num­ber of vot­ers, she said. “Any­thing that doesn’t fit into the le­gal frame­work will cer­tainly fail. So why dis­cuss it?”

The NPCSC has de­cided that the Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee should be formed with ref­er­ence to the elec­toral com­mit­tee which chose the pre­vi­ous CEs. The pur­pose was to en­sure a smooth re­form process by us­ing the

Man y peo­ple are ask­ing what the cen­tral gov­ern­ment is of­fer­ing us. What­ever it of­fers, can we re­ally de­liver a re­sult? We can’t blame the cen­tral gov­ern­ment for its of­fer if we can­not reach a con­sen­sus (be­cause) our po­lit­i­cal par­ties and our peo­ple are not united.” ELSIE LE­UNG OI-SIE VICE-CHAIR­WOMAN OF THE HKSAR BA­SIC LAW COM­MIT­TEE OF THE NA­TIONAL PEO­PLE’S CONGRESS STAND­ING COM­MIT­TEE

well-oiled ma­chine of past elec­tions.

“Choos­ing the CE by one man one vote will be a sub­stan­tial step for­ward,” Le­ung said. Cit­ing the chaotic open­ing of Hong Kong’s new air­port in 1998 as an ex­am­ple, she said: “Could we have still kept ev­ery­thing un­der con­trol when a lot of changes were hap­pen­ing at once?”

Le­ung said that af­ter ma­jor changes in 2017, elec­toral ar­range­ments for fu­ture elec­tions would not nec­es­sar­ily be stuck with a 2017 model. She urged po­lit­i­cal par­ties “with pop­u­lar sup­port” to ac­cept some com­pro­mises in or­der to move for­ward.

“They should first go ahead with uni­ver­sal suf­frage, even if the elec­tion method (is con­sid­ered) a bit less than per­fect. Elec­tion meth­ods in many coun­tries have evolved over years,” she said.

The for­mer sec­re­tary for jus­tice left that po­si­tion in 2005 just be­fore the re­form pack­age for the 2007 CE elec­tion and 2008 Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil (LegCo) elec­tion was blocked at LegCo, pri­mar­ily by the op­po­si­tion camp.

While Bei­jing would play a cru­cial role, Le­ung said Hong Kong should reach a con­sen­sus first.

“Many peo­ple are ask­ing what the cen­tral gov­ern­ment is of­fer­ing us. What­ever it of­fers, can we re­ally de­liver a re­sult? We can’t blame the cen­tral gov­ern­ment for its of­fer if we can­not reach a con­sen­sus (be­cause) our po­lit­i­cal par­ties and our peo­ple are not united,” she said.

A week into the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion, Sec­re­tary for Con­sti­tu­tional and Main­land Af­fairs Ray­mond Tam Chi-yuen told a fo­rum on Wed­nes­day things were go­ing well. He said there had been at­tempts to “blend” dif­fer­ent views about new pro­pos­als across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum.

Dis­cussing Elsie Le­ung’s con­cerns about “too many changes”, Tam said he agreed that the im­ple­men­ta­tion of uni­ver­sal suf­frage was a big step for­ward. But he said “it wouldn’t be fair to com­ment” on whether ma­jor changes could lead to chaos.

“We need to be prag­matic. I can only an­swer that ques­tion fol­low­ing a scru­tiny of a con­crete pro­posal, from nom­i­na­tion to ap­point­ment, with all the de­tails and as­pects in view,” he said.

Tam re­it­er­ated that po­lit­i­cal sup­port from the pub­lic and Bei­jing was es­sen­tial in pass­ing the re­form pack­age.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.