Justice chief challenges democrats' reform plan

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung has raised legal arguments against the public nomination of candidates in the 2017 chief executive election.

Staff reporter

Monday, December 23, 2013

Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung has raised legal arguments against the public nomination of candidates in the 2017 chief executive election.

Such a move may not comply with the intention of Article 45 of the Basic Law, he told The Standard's sister paper Sing Tao Daily in an exclusive interview.

Under a pan-democrat proposal, the nominating committee may put forward to run those candidates who receive a certain number of nominations from ordinary voters.

Yuen, a member of the Task Force on Constitutional Development, questioned whether anyone who obtains a certain number of signatures, regardless of who they are, is eligible to run.

"Is it really the legislative intent of Article 45?" he asks.

He also questions whether the signatures of thousands of electors should be monitored by law.

"If 100 out of the 30,000 signatures have problems, do we still let the person run in the race?"

He said public nomination may also bypass the nominating committee and "turn it into a plastic stamp."

"Its name remains but not its purpose. It may also breach Article 45 of the Basic Law."

He also warns that chanting slogans to fight for true universal suffrage does not mean much.

"Some say public nomination means true universal suffrage. Frankly, there are problems behind the logic. The public nomination may not mean the same for one and the other."

Meanwhile, Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan said the idea of public nomination should not be given up despite Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office director Wang Guangya saying it deviates from the Basic Law.

Ho believes Wang's remarks indicate that the distance between public nomination and the Basic Law may be narrowed on a better legal basis.

"The government should consider in an open and proactive manner the suggestions that are with legal basis," he said.

Wang made the remarks after meeting Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying in Beijing on Thursday.

The League in Defence of Hong Kong's Freedom proposed yesterday that the nominating committee be formed by eligible electors, and those who have gained endorsement by 50,000 electors will become candidates.

Convener James Hon Lin-shan called on the public to join the New Year's Day protest to fight for true universal suffrage.