IT Voice on Constitutional Reform 2016, 2017 & 2020

IT Voice responded to the Public Consultation on  “Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive in 2017 and for  Forming the Legislative Council in 2016”

To: Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau

IT Voice would like to respond to the consultation document “Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive in 2017 and for Forming the Legislative Council in 2016.

 

About IT Voice

IT Voice logoIT Voice is a group of liberal IT professionals committed to contributing to the prosperity of Hong Kong and the industry. We have held forums for industry participants and published online and print articles on IT development strategies and public policies from time to time.

 


Principles of Constitutional Reform

The Constitutional Reform in Chief Executive (“CE”) Election in 2017, and the Legislative Council (“Legco”) 2016, 2020 should be based on these principles:

1. The Legal Foundation

  • The reform should be based not only on the Basic Law (BL) and the resolution of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (SCNPC), but should also comply with the Sino-British Joint Declaration.
  • The definition of Universal Suffrage must comply with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which remain in force after 1997 (BL Article 39.)

2. Consensus of Hong Kong Citizens towards Democracy and Universal Suffrage

  • The reform should reflect the consensus among Hong Kong citizens towards Universal Suffrage which were continually reflected by different surveys.
  • In December 2007, Mr. Donald Tsang, the then CE submitted a report to the SCNPC reflecting the views of different sectors of the community on the issue of universal suffrage solicited during the public consultation period, which reflected that more than half of the public supported the implementation of universal suffrage for election of the CE and the whole Legco (“dual universal suffrage”) in 2012. Universal suffrage should have been implemented “yesterday” and we should not delay it any more.

3. Destination, Roadmap and Progress

  • The reform must have a clear Destination and Roadmap. We should achieve universal suffrage in Chief Executive Election in 2017, and universal suffrage of Legislative Council election no later than 2020.
  • We should have a road map for the whole process and have a material progress in 2016 towards universal suffrage of Legislative Council if universal suffrage in Legco cannot be achieved in 2016.

4. True Universal Suffrage

  • Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity to vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors. (ICCPR Article 25)
  • Every citizen should have the right to be elected. That means he/she has the equal right to be nominated and join the election so that voters have a chance to vote for him/her.
  • Every citizen should have the right to vote, and the value of each vote should be equal.
  • Functional Constituency is incompatible with universal suffrage and should be totally removed.

 

Chief Executive Election 2017

1. Direction and Roadmap

  • In 2017, the Election Committee should be abolished and the CE should be elected by universal suffrage. Any eligible voter should be able to vote in the CE Election.
  • The current formation of the Nomination Committee (NC) in Appendix 1 of Basic Law is similar to the Election Committee in 2012 and lacks broad and fair representation. When we implement universal suffrage, the NC and the nomination process must be reformed in a direction that any citizen in Hong Kong has a chance to nominate an eligible CE candidate.
  • The nomination process should not contain pre-filtering. The real decision should be vested with the eligible voters.
  • The CE Election must in all dimensions be more open and more democratic than that of 2012.

2. Qualification of CE Candidate

  • The qualification of CE candidate is laid down in Basic Law (BL Article 44) which should be the only criteria for accepting candidate application.
  • We are against using political censorship such as “patriotic and love Hong Kong”, or any other additional criteria to deny any candidate.
  • In order to facilitate party politics, the restriction that the CE has no political affiliation should be waived.

3. Composition of Nomination Committee and Nomination Process

  • The NC must be reformed such that any citizen in Hong Kong has a chance to nominate an eligible CE candidate. Here are two possible methods:
  • Method 1 is to introduce Direct Civic Nomination to the nomination process. This is more preferred for its simplicity and allows less change in the existing NC.
    • 1% of eligible voters of Hong Kong can nominate a candidate directly (similar that proposed by the Alliance of True Democracy) without the need for the NC to approve.
    • The existing four sectors of NC remain unchanged in number (1200) and nomination threshold (150 nominators, or 12.5%). A nominator should not nominate more than one candidate.
  • Method 2 is to introduce a new fifth sector of Direct Elected Members to the NC
    • 300 new members of the NC are elected by proportional representation, with the whole of Hong Kong as one constituency, adopting the d’ Hondt formula (Note 1) .
    • The existing four sectors of NC remain unchanged in number (1200). So there are totally 1500 NC members.
    • The nomination threshold is unchanged (12.5% of NC members). A nominator should not nominate more than one candidate.
  • Any other proposal that allows any citizen in Hong Kong having a chance to nominate an eligible CE candidate can be accepted, for example, the NC is fully elected by all eligible voters in Hong Kong, or using Method 1 or 2 but further expand the franchise of the four sectors of the NC without increasing its number.
  • We do not agree to any proposal that increases the number of NC members with the current four sectors and methods of election. It does not increase representation and under current system it will only increase the success chance of the privileged class which has more resources.
  • The nomination process should be designed that the real decision is left to the voters. Nomination should only have necessary minimum nomination requirement, i.e. minimum number of nominators. Any other pre-filtering mechanism should be banned, for example.
    • Increasing the hurdle in nomination (currently 150 members, or 12.5%)
    • Adding requirement like minimum number of nominators in each of the sectors.
    • Adding arrangement like block vote.
    • Allowing a nominator nominate more than one candidate.
  • The process must ban candidate taking excessive nomination to cause an uncontested election, depriving the opportunity of the voters to vote in an election.
    • A maximum nomination threshold must be set to disallow any candidate obtaining excessive nominations. We proposed this maximum threshold to be 20% of NC members

4. Election Process

  • Contested election (more than one candidate) – two round election
    • A candidate is elected if he/she obtains more than 50% of the valid votes in the first round.
    • If no candidate is elected in the first round, the top two candidates enter into the second round. A candidate who obtains the majority votes is elected.
  • Uncontested election (only one candidate)
    • The candidate is taken to confidence voting in which voters can select YES or NO. He/she is elected if obtaining more than 50% of valid vote “YES", otherwise a re-election is required, and the term of the existing CE should be extended for 6 months with limited power.

 

Legislative Council Election 2016 and 2020

1. Direction, Roadmap and Progress

  • All seats in Legco should be elected via universal suffrage latest by 2020, with all Functional Constituency (FC) seats removed.
  • Universal suffrage in 2016 should be considered. If not feasible, 2016 must have transition changes to progress to universal suffrage in 2020.
  • When Legco is elected by universal suffrage, half of the seat should be elected by single-seat constituency first-past-the-post system, and the other half by proportional representation, with the whole of Hong Kong.
  • Split voting in Legco must be abandoned in 2016 in any case.
  • By removing FC, we can remove sector interest which is tightly bound with economical and class interests. It will allow open competition and encourage the development of party politics and political integration.

2. Legislative Council Election 2016

  • If 2016 universal suffrage is not feasible, transition arrangement must be arranged to convert partial FC seats into directed elected seats.
  • The proposal of the Alliance of True Democracy can be considered:
    • Total number of seats in the Legislative Council remains 70, with 50 seats elected by direct election.
    • For the 50 directly elected seats, 35 seats will maintain the existing proportional representation system, 15 seats will be elected by proportional representation with the whole of Hong Kong , adopting the d’ Hondt formula.
    • The FC seats are reduced from 35 to 20 seats. The current 30 FC seats (9 seats for professional sectors (Note 2) ; 15 seats for commercial and economic sectors (Note 3) ; and 6 seats for social and political sectors (Note 4) ) will be converted to three large constituencies along the above lines, (6 seats from professional sectors; 10 seats for commercial and economic sectors; 4 seats from the social and political sectors). In each group constituency, each voter can vote for only one candidate. The candidates that secure the most votes win.
    • The District Council (II) FC seats are abolished
    • Split voting in Legco should is abolished.
  • In addition, all FC corporate votes are changed to personal votes.

3. Legislative Council Election 2020

  • Functional Constituency should be abolished completely.
  • The total size of Legco should remain as 70.
  • Half of the seats of Legco should be elected under the single-seat constituency first-past-the post system in Geographical Constituency.
  • The other half of the seats of Legco should be elected by proportional representation, with the whole of Hong Kong, adopting the d’ Hondt formula.
  • Voters have two votes, one for each channel.

IT Voice is open to discuss this with you face to face should you found it necessary.

 

Regards,

The IT Voice Team

(names ….)

 


Notes

[1] The d’ Hondt formula is as follows: if N votes are cast for a list of candidates, the first candidate on the list shall gain N votes, the second candidate shall gain one half, the third shall gain one-third, etc. The candidates securingmost votes win.

[2] Medical, Education, Accountancy, Social Welfare, Health Services, Engineering, Legal, Information Technology, and Architectural, Surveying and Planning

[3] Industrial (2 seats), Commercial (2 seats), Wholesale and Retail, Import and Export, Real Estate andConstruction, Finance, Financial Services, Catering, Textiles and Garment, Transport, Insurance, Tourism, and Agriculture and Fisheries.

[4] Labour (3 seats), District Council-First, Heung Yee Kuk, and Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication.

 

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