Wednesday, January 15, 2014, 08:22
Nominating Committee not rubber stamp: Tam
By Joseph Li in Hong Kong

Nominating Committee not rubber stamp: Tam

Basic Law Committee member Maria Tam Wai-chu said during an exclusive interview with China Daily that any attempt to bypass or diminish the role of the Nominating Committee would be inappropriate and futile. (Edmond Tang / CHINA DAILY)

Basic Law Committee member Maria Tam Wai-chu stressed on Tuesday that the Nominating Committee (NC) was not a rubber stamp — and its members should not be forced to make nominations against their will.

Speaking to China Daily in an exclusive interview, Tam reiterated that election of the Chief Executive (CE) by universal suffrage in 2017 should proceed in accordance with the Basic Law and decisions by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC).

She said any attempt to bypass or diminish the role of the NC, stipulated in Article 45 of the Basic Law, would be inappropriate and futile. Tam also said other channels, such as “civil nomination”, were unacceptable.  

“Members of the NC have the freewill to nominate suitable people. They are not rubber stamps who are bound to select people recommended to them via other channels,” she emphasized.

Tam said she was aware that the Alliance for True Democracy, being part of the opposition camp, had recently advocated a three-way proposal, which was: “civil nomination”, nomination by political parties and by the NC.

The Democratic Party (DP), who supported the 2012 electoral package, has said “civil nomination” was not indispensable. But it has been attacked by other alliance members.

“The DP has not yet made up their mind about the ultimate proposal. We should give them more time to see if they want to be a stumbling block this time,” she said.

Asked whether the attacks from the rest of the opposition camp might force the DP to side with the government, Tam said it is too early to say.

She reiterated that the central government, the SAR Government and the Hong Kong community at large were eager to achieve universal suffrage in 2017. Tam said she was optimistic that electoral reform in the city would proceed.

“The only missing link is the Legislative Council (LegCo), because its approval by two-thirds is necessary to carry the electoral reform,” she added.

“If this fails, constitutional development would stand still. Not only governance will struggle, LegCo’s credibility will also suffer because people will blame it for dragging down universal suffrage.”

The government will introduce a motion to implement the CE election by universal suffrage in the first half of 2015. Even if this is passed, domestic legislation of detailed electoral procedures will follow.

“This will be another battle because the devil is in the details,” Tam said.