Monday, 5 August 2013

Jasper Tsang: Having no alternatives - on universal suffrage

Originally at: http://www.am730.com.hk/article.php?article=166519
By Jasper Tsang Yok-sing
Translated by Chen-t'ang

Democracy is not a perfect system, but we have no other alternatives now in Hong Kong. Democracy is the system that the majority of citizens is willing to accept and reply on. As the Chinese central government has pledged to Hongkongers that there will be universal suffrage for Chief Executive on 2017 and all LegCo seats in 2020, then they cannot back down. We must implement universal suffrage according to this schedule.

An election mechanism with consent from all parties has to be set, if universal suffrage for CE has to be implemented. Everyone knows it, but the point hinges on the nomination: how to decide who can run the election? Some people think that the nomination mechanism can act as a sieve to weed out unacceptable candidates to the central government. But is this possible? If the the SARG's proposal of the universal suffrage for CE is a "fake/bogus suffrage", they must be facing strong opposition, and thus cannot obtain two thirds support from the LegCo.

Furthermore, even if the weeding out mechanism can be used, if there exist a candidate with lots of support and without the acceptance of the central government, it will be politically impossible if the nomination committee weed him out. Last year, every candidate tried their best to obtain support from the public, and improved their reputation in the CE Election last year, which even was not a universal suffrage. It is because every candidate knows that the election committee members cannot be at loggerheads with the public's will to support the one with low reputation. For the same reason, the nomination committee cannot weed out candidate(s) with high reputation without letting the public to choose it.

If the SARG insist on proposing a way that 'guarantee not letting the opposition party to run', not only is it in vain, but also aggravated the situation. An obviously unfair proposal will only disgruntle the public, and the opposition party can obtain more sympathy and support. If the government really do so, and the establishment camp backed it, then they will be besieged in the LegCo election.



In my opinion, anyway, we have to walk on the road of universal suffrage.

For those who do not believe in democracy and worry that universal suffrage would put HK in a worse situation, they shall face the fact, rather than trying their best to design a 'risk-free' election rules. Do more preparations on what they apprehend.


For those who support universal suffrage, they shall know that although we often say universal suffrage is the "ultimate goal", but it certainly is not the end of political development of HK, but rather the beginning of democracy being under the trial of fire. Universal suffrage is only the first step; there is a longer, harder way to go in pursuit of a successful and good democratic system.

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