【明報專訊】JOURNALISTS have separately asked Chief Executive (CE) aspirants Henry Tang and Leung Chun-ying questions about the 2017 CE election. Neither has answered them directly. Both seem to have dodged them.
Leung has a good grasp of social matters. When he presents his ideas or answers questions, he uses precise expressions and logical arguments. He seems to have a well-thought-out plan for anything. That is a reason why people have the impression that he is more competent than Tang. The other day a reporter asked him a question about the 2017 CE election. Leung said, "In 2017, the CE will be elected by 'one man, one vote'. That is not a simple question. The National People's Congress has made its stipulations about it. I will include at a suitable time details of the universal-suffrage election in my platform." Such questions will certainly be put to CE aspirants. Leung ought to have pondered them. His perfunctory reply is disappointing.
Yesterday, a reporter asked Tang if there would be a nomination mechanism for screening people desirous of standing in the 2017 CE election. Tang said, "As for how many, how few, how loose, how tight, there are many considerations. It won't be so simple as one mechanism. ... It is necessary for society to come to a consensus. However, in introducing universal suffrage, the first step must be taken, be it large or small. It will be optimised rather than worsened in the time to come."
Tang has talked a little more about this matter than Leung. However, his comments are too fragmented and vague to be fully comprehensible.
When he was Chief Secretary for Administration, Tang had access to confidential information. It is not at all surprising that he is aware how the central government looks at the issue. What is important is how Tang looks at electoral restrictions (such as a screening mechanism). Tang said, "It isn't so simple as a mechanism." How complicated is it? Is it right for it to be so complicated? Instead of trying to muddle through, he ought to have offered the public a clear explanation.
Both Tang and Leung are Hong Kong citizens. One of them may be the next CE. Citizens expect the CE to look at elections as they do. Tang and Leung may know how the central government thinks about the 2017 CE election. Its ideas may be at odds with Hong Kong citizens'. Nevertheless, Tang and Leung are obligated to make public what they advocate so that society will know they would fight for what it aspires to. The CE will let Hong Kong people down if he just goes along with the central government's views and carries out its instructions though they go against the principles of democracy and, as a result, the 2017 CE election will be a bogus universal-suffrage election.
Both Leung and Tang have talked about the 2017 election. However, one is evasive, and the other, vague. That shows how important it is for a representative of the pro-democracy camp to join the CE race.
There is zero chance that the pro-democracy representative will win the race, but he will discharge his duty if he compels Tang and Leung to make policy proposals and give citizens their pledges. How will the CE be elected in 2017? This is one of the issues on which Tang and Leung must declare where they stand. Which of them is at the central government's beck and call? Which of them has the courage to persuade the central government to allow Hong Kong to hold democratic elections that meet criteria acceptable to Hong Kong citizens? Let us see if the pro-democracy candidate can enable citizens to know them for what they are.