CE can­di­date must be backed by half of NC: Elsie Le­ung

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By JOSEPH LI in Hong Kong joseph@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

Elsie Le­ung Oi-sie, vice-chair­woman of the HKSAR Ba­sic Law Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress Stand­ing Com­mit­tee, said an en­dorse­ment by at least 50 per­cent of the Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee mem­bers should be re­quired for a per­son to qual­ify as a can­di­date in the 2017 Chief Ex­ec­u­tive (CE) elec­tion.

Le­ung said she also be­lieved that a ma­jor­ity vote of over 50 per­cent would be needed for a can­di­date to win the elec­tion.

Speak­ing to China Daily in an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view on Thurs­day, the for­mer sec­re­tary for jus­tice noted that the nom­i­na­tion thresh­old has re­mained one-eighth (12.5 per­cent) for past CE elec­tions. But the num­ber of can­di­dates has never ex­ceeded four. There­fore, two to four can­di­dates were ap­pro­pri­ate.

If a per­son is rec­om­mended by 12.5 per­cent of Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee mem­bers, then they could en­ter the se­cond round. Pro­vided they were en­dorsed by the Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee in the se­cond round, they could be­come a valid can­di­date, she said.

“Usu­ally a ma­jor­ity of over 50 per­cent is needed, whereas a mere 12.5 per­cent is un­con­vinc­ing,” Le­ung said.

The win­ner would need to win over 50 per­cent of the bal­lots in the pop­u­lar vote, sim­i­lar to the present re­quire­ments, so the elected CE would have a strong man­date, she said. If a win­ner was not re­turned in the first round, fur­ther rounds would be nec­es­sary.

Given the cen­tral govern­ment had the ul­ti­mate au­thor­ity to ap­point the CE, re-elec­tions would be re­quired in case of non-ap­point­ment.

Le­ung crit­i­cized civil nom­i­na­tion as un­con­sti­tu­tional, as it does not com­ply with the Ba­sic Law be­cause it would by­pass the Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee.

Since the pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion has just be­gun, the Hong Kong SAR Govern­ment was as open as pos­si­ble to sug­ges­tions and had not im­me­di­ately re­jected civil nom­i­na­tion.

Le­ung said she did not think it was nec­es­sary for the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress Stand­ing Com­mit­tee (NPCSC) to re­ject civil nom­i­na­tion by way of an in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Ar­ti­cle 45 of the Ba­sic Law. This was be­cause the law was very clear about it. But Le­ung said she might not be 100 per­cent cor­rect about this and any­one could of­fer sug­ges­tions.

Again, the NPCSC de­ci­sion of 2007 said the for­ma­tion of the Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee might re­fer to that of the ex­ist­ing Elec­tion Com­mit­tee. As civil nom­i­na­tion did not ex­ist un­der the Elec­tion Com­mit­tee ar­range­ment, it did not con­form to the NPCSC’s de­ci­sion, she said.

Le­ung also said it would be very dif­fi­cult to ver­ify the per­sonal de­tails of nom­i­na­tors.

“The de­tails must be ver­i­fied to find out whether they are true or false. Oth­er­wise, one may nom­i­nate a per­son more than once,” she said. “And if there are 1 mil­lion peo­ple nom­i­nat­ing a per­son, it will mount very big pres­sure on the Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee. The Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee will be by­passed if it is bound to ac­cept peo­ple rec­om­mended by civil nom­i­na­tion.”

In con­clu­sion, Le­ung said civil nom­i­na­tion did not merit fur­ther dis­cus­sion.

Ar­ti­cle 45 stip­u­lates that nom­i­na­tion of CE can­di­dates should be by a broadly rep­re­sen­ta­tive Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee. “So this means in­sti­tu­tional nom­i­na­tion to re­flect the col­lec­tive wish of the Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee in­stead of civil nom­i­na­tion,” she said.

Dis­cussing the for­ma­tion of the Nom­i­nat­ing Com­mit­tee, Le­ung said it might have 1,200 mem­bers equally di­vided into four sec­tors like the Elec­tion Com­mit­tee. But this and other de­tails were open to dis­cus­sion, she added.

PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY

Elsie Le­ung Oi-sie, vice-chair­woman of the HKSAR Ba­sic Law Com­mit­tee of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Congress Stand­ing Com­mit­tee and for­mer sec­re­tary for jus­tice, dur­ing an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with China Daily on Thurs­day.

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