This photo dated Nov 12, 2020 shows a corner inside the Legislative Council building, Hong Kong. (CALVIN NG/CHINA DAILY)
Hong Kong public figures have hailed the electoral reform initiated by the national legislature, the National People’s Congress, saying an improved electoral system will promote the city’s democratic development.
They expressed on Tuesday confidence that the new system will ensure that Hong Kong’s core political organs — the Election Committee, which picks the chief executive, and the Legislative Council — will represent more voices in the community.
Deputies to the NPC have been deliberating on a draft decision to improve the SAR’s electoral setup at the ongoing session of the 13th NPC before voting on it on Thursday.
Elsie Leung Oi-sie, former deputy director of the Hong Kong Basic Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee, said the improved institutional design would be more representative, allowing a wider sector of the public to participate in politics.
Elsie Leung Oi-sie, former deputy director of the Hong Kong Basic Law Committee of the NPC Standing Committee, said the improved institutional design would be more representative, allowing a wider sector of the public to participate in politics
She’s in favor of expanding the existing 1,200-member Election Committee to create more seats from various sectors, as well as entrusting the committee to have a bigger proportion of legislators.
Leung also said that the enlarged Election Committee should be given the power to vet candidates standing for public office, and scrutinize current officials.
This would rectify the flaws in the existing arrangement that relies solely on the returning officers to determine the eligibility of candidates, said Leung. Returning officers may adopt different criteria, and they lack the authority to monitor the performance of those elected when they assume office, she said.
In her view, opposition politicians will not be barred from entering the governance system as long as they abandon their antagonistic tactics toward the central and SAR governments. On the other hand, Leung said, if pro-establishment lawmakers are incompetent and lose public support during their four-year term, they also lose their chance of getting reelected.
Andrew Yao Cho-fai, one of the 36 Hong Kong NPC deputies attending the annual sessions in Beijing, said he was excited about improving the city’s electoral system and the plan to allow only patriots to govern Hong Kong.
He said he hopes the enlarged Election Committee can include groups representing youth and women’s rights, which have received less attention.
A local youth group also voiced support for an improved electoral system for Hong Kong, saying it’s the key to implementing governance by patriots. The Hong Kong United Youth Association said full implementation of “patriots governing Hong Kong” will ensure more efficient governance for the city.
“The concept of ‘patriots governing Hong Kong’ is not new, but a minimum requirement for the ‘Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong’ principle,” said Eric Fok Kai-shan, vice-chairman of the association and executive chairman of the Hong Kong Guangdong Youth Association.
He stressed that upholding the principle and improving Hong Kong’s electoral system will not only safeguard the “one country, two systems” policy, but also bolster the city’s role in helping the country attract foreign investors.
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