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Representatives from the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA) today (2 May) met with Mrs. Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary for Administration, to exchange views and present written comments on the government’s Consultation Document on Methods for selecting the Chief Executive in 2017 and for forming the Legislative Council in 2016 .
The BPA appreciates and supports aspirations by the people of Hong Kong to achieve universal suffrage for the Chief Executive (CE) election in 2017. At the same time, the BPA also believes that any such proposals or discussions should be consistent with the legal framework of the Basic Law and the relevant Interpretation and Decisions of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee.
Other than implementation issues, the BPA feels that consideration should also be given to promoting effective administration in the design of a suitable method to elect the CE in 2017. The BPA will take heed of the issues and views raised by different sectors of the community on arrangement specifics.
The BPA believes that an open-minded approach should be adopted to achieve consensus on realizing universal suffrage for the CE election in 2017. As Mr Andrew Leung, BPA Chairman, puts it, “We have to make our own way (to attain universal suffrage).”
The BPA proposes that candidates should first gather votes from 100 members of the Nominating Committee before the same nominates 2 to 4 candidates to run for office of the CE, who will then be elected through universal suffrage.
The BPA’s proposal on the nominating procedure for the CE is more accommodating compared to other proposals the majority of which require candidates to win the support of more than half of the Nominating Committee in order to be considered eligible to run for election as CE. Mr Leung described such a proposed requirement as being a bit stringent and pointed out that this was precisely one of the areas where people of Hong Kong could “make their own way”. He noted that although quite a number of different proposals have since been put forward, there was still room for discussion on reaching a consensus. The BPA looks forward to the next stage of the public consultation when government will, hopefully, come up with specific proposals for the community’s consideration.
Regarding the Legislative Council (LegCo) Election in 2016, BPA suggested that there should be minimal changes so that more attention can be devoted to achieving universal suffrage for the CE election in 2017. The BPA believes that the current LegCo system of including Functional Constituencies seats should be preserved although it acknowledges that there is scope for broadening the electoral base. As such, the BPA is amenable to the views and opinions of other stakeholders.
The BPA accepts and understands that whatever the outcome with the method for electing the CE in 2017 this may be regarded as being less than ideal. However, such an arrangement is by no means final. Constitutional development is a dynamic process and the electoral system can be further improved upon in accordance with the societal circumstances in Hong Kong. The BPA hopes that all quarters of society can agree on making it a priority to implement universal suffrage for electing the CE in 2017 at this stage of political reforms in Hong Kong.
The BPA organized a Symposium on Constitutional Reform in January 2014 following the government’s release of its consultation document in December 2013. Mrs. Carrie Lam, Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr. Raymond Tam, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs and Mr. Lau Kong-wah, Under Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs were invited to the Symposium to discuss reform issues with members. The BPA’s Constitutional Reform Commission subsequently conducted in-depth discussions on the various options for electing the CE and LegCo respectively in 2017 and 2016 while its District Councilors went about gathering public opinions on the same. The BPA then held a General Meeting to consider inputs from the two sources as described in the foregoing following which a paper was drawn up.
Members attending today’s meeting to present views and the BPA’s written submission on electoral reforms included Mr. Andrew Leung, Mr. Jeffery Lam (Vice Chairman), Dr W.K. Lo (Vice Chairman), Mr. Christopher Cheung (Vice Chairman) and Dr Priscilla Leung (Legislative Councilor).
Chief Executive Election in 2017
Legislative Council Elections in 2016