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Monday, January 12, 2015, 08:52

Poll and lawmakers add pressure on opposition

By Kahon Chan in Hong Kong

Hong Kong will miss the opportunity to move democracy forward unless the opposition camp agrees to engage in the dialogue with the government on electoral reform, the city’s top legislator cautioned, as results of the latest poll showed majority support of universal suffrage in 2017.

Legislative Council (LegCo) President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing renewed his push for dialogue on Sunday, as the opposition parties continued to adhere to their pledge to veto the reform package that is based on the Basic Law and the decision of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee in August.

Tsang urged the opposition to revisit their decision if the authorities make new promises on future revisions of the reform package after the Chief Executive (CE) election in 2017. But it is key for the opposition camp to make an offer first, Tsang told the media on the sideline of an event.

“If we take this step forward, we will open a door that allows us to keep going. We won’t know when we can open this door again if the proposal is voted down,” he said, noting that the framework laid down by the country’s top legislature does not rule out candidates from the opposition camp.

Tsang’s fellow lawmaker from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Starry Lee Wai-king, also called upon the opposition to commence talks with the authorities with a view to move the city’s election system forward.

Both Lee and Chan Yuen-han, a veteran legislator of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said at a forum that they were baffled by Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan’s plan to resign after voting on the reform package in order to trigger a by-election.

Lee said a by-election wouldn’t make any difference to the political reality and the opposition is unable to outline a pragmatic and feasible strategy to achieve a better election system.

Chan blasted Ho’s plan for “lacking logic” and said she hoped the opposition would listen to the peoples’ wishes.

According to a poll published by Ming Pao on Sunday, 56 percent of people surveyed said they want the reform package be endorsed by LegCo. Asked if promises of progress are made for the CE election in 2022, 64 percent of the respondents showed their support to the government’s reform proposal.

Meanwhile, Ho continued to stand firm on what was widely believed to be an ill-conceived political stunt. In a TV interview, the opposition lawmaker insisted that public opinion was fluid and people would change their mind if he managed to pull off a “de facto referendum”.

Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah lamented in his Sunday blog that the first two weeks of 2015 were still dominated by public discord carried over from last year. He advised all sides to leave some flexibility in their public statements.


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