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