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Sunday, August 31, 2014, 16:01

NPC sets rules for HK 2017 univeral suffrage

By Kahon Chan /

The top legislature ruled that Hong Kong may elect its Chief Executive (CE) from 2017 by universal suffrage, in which candidates must gain majority support by a nominating committee formed in the same way as the electoral committee.

The legal-binding resolution, unanimously passed by the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) on Sunday afternoon, set out that the CE of Hong Kong, beginning from 2017, can be elected by universal suffrage in conformity with four regulations.

Firstly, the "widely-representative" nominating committee must be established in consistency with the size, composition and formation of the electoral committee that chose the previous CE in 2012.

Secondly, the nominating committee will generate two to three candidates in accordance with democratic procedures. Every candidate must obtain endorsement of over half of the nominating committee.

Thirdly, all registered electors in Hong Kong are entitled to the right to elect the CE. They can only pick one candidate in the universal suffrage election.

Last but not least, the CE candidate who won the universal suffrage will be subject to appointment by the Central People's Government following the popular election.

The top legislature's resolution wrapped the second of the five steps to carry on with the election reform in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong government was expected to present a more detailed proposal later this year. It will require endorsement of two thirds of the LegCo in Hong Kong before final approval by the CE and the NPCSC.

The Sunday resolution also stipulated that had the reform package hit the wall in the remaining constitutional steps, the next CE will also be selected by the electoral committee. All members of the LegCo will also not be chosen by the universal suffrage unless the CE is produced by popular vote.

According to the amendment to the Basic Law Annex I passed by the NPCSC in August 2010, the electoral committee comprises of the "industrial, commercial and financial sectors", "the professions", the "labor, social services, religious and other sectors", as well as the "members of the Legislative Council, representatives of members of the District Councils, representatives of the Heung Yee Kuk, Hong Kong deputies to the National People’s Congress, and representatives of Hong Kong members of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference".

Each larger sector was given 300 seats in the committee as according to the 2010 proposal. The local legislation further provided that there are 38 subsectors under the four pillar sectors. Several NPC deputies, including Maria Tam Wai-chu, maintained that the Sunday resolution has left room to refine the composition of each of the four sectors.

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