HK opposition reject election reform package
By Teddy Ng (China Daily HK Edition/Xinhua)
Updated: 2005-12-22 08:35
Hong Kong opposition legislators Wednesday voted down the government's
constitutional reform package on the electoral methods for the 2007 chief
executive (CE) and the 2008 Legislative Council (LegCo) elections.
The package needed
two-thirds of the 60 lawmakers' support to be passed. But only 34 voted in
favour of the reform with one abstention (by Lau Chin-shek).
Hong Kong Chief
Executive Donald Tsang briefs the media early December 22, 2005, after
opposition lawmakers in Hong Kong voted down a election reform
package. [China Daily]
The government package had proposed to double the size of the Election
Committee (EC) that elects the CE from 800 to 1,600, making all district council
(DC) members automatically a part of EC. The legislature in 2008 would get an
extra 10 seats, with DC members filling half of them through an election among
The government announced adjustments to the package on Monday that included
measures to reduce the number of appointed DC seats from 102 to 68 in 2008, to
decide whether to abolish the rest or reduce the 34 in 2012 and finally do away
with them altogether in 2016.
But the opposition camp was not satisfied with the adjustments and insisted
that the government include in the package a timetable for universal suffrage,
which was ruled out in the April 2004 Decision of the National People's Congress
CE Donald Tsang made a last minute effort to gain lawmakers' support by
meeting several "pro-democracy" camp members, including accounting sector's
Mandy Tam, health service sector's Joseph Lee, independent legislator Albert
Cheng and Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihoods Frederick
Fung, on Tuesday night. He also held a meeting with Tam, Fung and Hong Kong
Confederation of Trade Unions legislator Lau Chin-shek yesterday afternoon.
The opposition legislators have to explain to the public why they strayed
from the path to democracy by rejecting the government's proposal, Secretary for
Constitutional Affairs Stephen Lam said yesterday.
The opposition camp should be held responsible for obstructing the democratic
development of Hong Kong, he stressed, adding he could not understand why the
opposition party had failed to appreciate the sincerity of the government and
take a step towards democracy.
Lam said the electoral package was the result of months of hard work and
lengthy discussions with the central government and long-drawn consultations
with the public. It was the best given Hong Kong's actual situation.