Pan-democrats vow to veto proposal for 2017 election

Civic Party legislator Ms Claudia Mo Man-ching says the electoral framework laid down by the NPC means the 2017 chief executive election will remain a "‘small-circle election'" masqueraded as democratic by allowing people to vote on the candidates by "one man, one vote".

For the electoral reform to become law when it is eventually submitted to the Legislative Council, the government will need the support of two-thirds of the council's 70 members.

But on September 1, a total 25 out of 27 pan-democrat legislators pledged to veto the proposed reform in a joint declaration, while the remaining two publicly opposed the NPC's decision.

For the government to get what it wants, it will have to succeed in getting at least five pan-democrats to turn against their own camp – an unlikely feat particularly in the wake of the massive support for the Occupy Central movement shown over the past two weeks.

Democratic Party lawmaker Mr Albert Ho Chun-yan says the gap between moderate and radical democrats has narrowed and everyone who has signed the declaration has to be responsible to his or her voters and the community.

Meanwhile, Mr Jasper Tsang Yok-sing, President of the Legislative Council, says he would vote in favour of the proposal if only one more vote is needed and then step down.

Though some pro-democracy supporters fear that the pan- democrats' tough stance against the NPC's decision and support for the Occupy Central movements may not endear themselves to moderate voters, Mr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok, lawmaker from the Civic Party, says he is not worried.

"We can talk with our voters. I have the confidence that they will continue supporting us, as we are doing the right thing for Hong Kong," Mr Chan said.

Ms Mo said pan-democrats, who have been pushing for civil nomination of chief executives candidates, are more united, thanks to Beijing's decision.

But Mr Tam Yiu-chung, chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, supports the NPC's decision, saying that it is made in strict accordance with the Basic Law.

He believes that civil nomination is impossible, as a broadly representative nominating committee will do the job according to Article 45 of the Basic Law.

Occupy Central will do great damage to the economy and the international image of the city, and it will not sway Beijing's decisions, he said.

"Pan-democrats may be upset or disappointed at present, but there is still time to talk and put in place improvements before the vote (on political reform). We can polish the proposal in the second round of public consultation," he said.

"Voting against the reform is easy, but if we did that we would have to wait for at least five more years to talk about it again. It would be a pity if we did not seize the chance this time."

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