Senior Chinese official confident in HKSAR govt

Updated: 2014-09-01 21:25


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HONG KONG - A senior Chinese official said here Monday that the universal suffrage in selection of Hong Kong' s chief executive should be based on nomination by a 1,200-member committee.

Li Fei, vice secretary-general of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, also expressed confidence during a press conference that the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will be capable of handling the so- called "Occupy Central" campaign.

The size of the nominating committee should be consistent with the current one and the nominating committee should be formed in accordance with the existing provisions in Annex I to the Hong Kong Basic Law, said Li Fei,

Li said previous practices had proved that the nominating committee ensured "a balanced participation" by various social sectors and conformed to Hong Kong's reality.

The first chief executive of the HKSAR was elected by a 400- member Selection Committee, while the second, third and fourth chief executives were elected by the Election Committee, with its membership growing from 800 to 1,200.

Li said that the fundamental principles in the basic law regarding the selection of Hong Kong's chief executive would remain unchanged.

He also said that the central government believes the HKSAR government will be capable of properly handling the "Occupy Central" campaign if some people would resort to such an illegal means.

The NPC Standing Committee decided on Sunday to grant universal suffrage in selection of Hong Kong's chief executive on the basis of nomination by a "broadly representative" committee.

The decision allows two or three candidates to run for the HKSAR's top job after obtaining support from at least half of a nominating committee that "shall be made in accordance with the number of members, composition and formation method of the Election Committee for the Fourth Chief Executive."

The decision on how the chief executive of the HKSAR will be selected was passed unanimously at the bi-monthly session of the NPC Standing Committee.

Sunday's adoption of the NPC decision is the second step for Hong Kong's five-step electoral reform.

Top Chinese legislator Zhang Dejiang said on Sunday that the new decision was of great importance to implementing the principles of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong," and ensuring that the region maintains a high degree of autonomy in accordance with the Hong Kong Basic Law.

CY Leung, chief executive of the HKSAR, told the media on Sunday that official and non-official members of the Executive Council support the decision.

Leung said the decision has laid down a clear framework on the specific methods for selecting the chief executive by universal suffrage from 2017 onward. The HKSAR government will launch the second round of public consultation as soon as possible.

"The decision is not the final step. To put the decision into implementation in 2017, we need to obtain a two-thirds majority support from all members of the Legislative Council," said Leung.

The incumbent chief executive was elected by a committee in 2012.

According to the NPC decision, all eligible electors of the region have the right to vote in the election of the chief executive and elect one of the candidates for the office.

The existing formation method and voting procedures for the Legislative Council will not be amended.