Hong Kong leader hails “historic” roadmap for elections

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Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying says the final framework for leadership elections is a step towards the “historic goal” of a public vote for leader.

Hong Kong leader hails “historic” roadmap for elections

Hong Kong leader hails “historic” roadmap for elections

/ Hong Kong (China) – 22 April 2015 11:02 – AFP – LEAD

Hong Kong’s government will on Wednesday reveal its final framework for controversial leadership elections, predicted to stick to tight restrictions from Beijing which sparked mass protests last year.

China’s decision that candidates for the city’s chief executive should be nominated by a loyalist committee, ahead of a public vote, triggered student-led street rallies for more than two months till December.

Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying confirmed the plan for how the election in 2017 will be held would be presented to the legislature on Wednesday morning, saying it was a step towards the “historic goal” of a public vote for leader.

“Today the government will announce the report and the plan for the chief executive election so that Hong Kong can to take one more step towards this historic goal,” he told reporters.

“The one person, one vote, to allow five million people to choose the chief executive is the collective wish of Chinese authorities, myself and the Hong Kong people.”

Leung called for support for the proposal from the public and legislators — pro-democracy lawmakers have threatened to block the plan when it goes to a vote in the legislature in the coming months.

He said the government was “confident” the plan would be passed, despite the vocal opposition, and dismissed demands to go against Beijing’s framework as not “grounded in reality”.

The government has been criticised for failing to accurately reflect opposition to Beijing’s restrictions to the central authorities.

But Leung insisted that the views of residents and lawmakers had been “fully and truthfully” communicated.

The 2017 election is set to be the first-ever public vote for the city’s leader — currently the chief executive is selected by a 1,200-strong committee stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists.

Activists have branded any election that adheres to Beijing’s framework — universal suffrage based on pre-selected candidates — “fake democracy”.

However, Hong Kong’s leadership has consistently said that it cannot deviate from the ruling last August by China’s National People’s Congress.

Local media splashed the anticipated announcement, with the South China Morning Post calling it “D-day for Hong Kong”.

But analysts said the proposal would not challenge Beijing’s restrictions.

“It’s likely to be disappointing for those who would like a genuine democracy in Hong Kong because it’s very likely to follow strictly the NPC Standing Committee decision,” said Surya Deva, an associate professor at the City University of Hong Kong’s law department.

Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997 under a joint declaration which guaranteed political, social and economic freedoms not enjoyed on the Chinese mainland.

The semi-autonomous city is governed under that “one country, two systems” deal, but there are fears that freedoms are being eroded by increased influence from Beijing.

END

Tags : elections, Roadmap, historic, Hails, leader, kong, hong

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