Alliance launched to support changes

Top News | Carine Chow 12 Mar 2021

The pro-establishment camp believes the electoral changes can eliminate political turmoil in favor of social reforms, while the pro-democracy camp has yet to decide if it will take part in elections again.

A cross-party alliance was established yesterday to support the changes, alongside the launch of an online petition.

The alliance's chief convener, Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, said the changes can stop subversive forces from damaging Hong Kong through elections.

The decision will facilitate long-term prosperity, he added.

Other heavyweights involved included Starry Lee Wai-king, chair of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee, head of the New People's Party, and Tommy Cheung Yu-yan, leader of the Liberal Party. The DAB said the decision was "an act of bringing order out of chaos."

It would help enforce the executive-led system stipulated in the Basic Law and focus on solving problems in society, it added.

People have to provide their name and first four digits of their identity card number to sign the petition. By 7pm last night, more than 70,000 had signed.

The president of the Legislative Council, Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, said after the constitutional order is restored the council can remain diverse and play the constitutional role of monitoring the government.

He hopes the SAR administration could submit the proposal to the Legislative Council as soon as the NPC has finished its amendments so that the election could run smoothly in the next 12 months.

The chairman of the Democratic Party, Lo Kin-hei, said electoral changes threw away the open political system that was used in the past two decades. He said it has also narrowed the wiggle room for democrats and believes his party mates will be deterred from joining future elections.

Lo said establishing a mechanism to review candidate eligibility is a form of political censorship and that candidates would have no choice but to start competing over who is more loyal to Beijing, instead of thinking of ideas that could make Hong Kong better.

Political analyst Ma Ngok said he has never heard of any democratic countries having a committee reviewing and confirming the qualifications of candidates based on political views.

He said the usual mechanism of assessing candidates eligibility was based on personal information provided, but not political stance.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the electoral changes undermine the international community's confidence and trust in China.

Britain is assessing whether the changes would breach the Sino-British Joint Declaration

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