23 December 2013
A Response to Rimsky Yuen’s Doubts over Civil Nomination
In response to the doubts Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen raised over the legal, political and practical suitability of “civil nomination”, Civic Party legislator Dennis Kwok points out that Article 45 of the Basic Law provides for the aim of universal suffrage “upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures.” The phrase “nomination…in accordance with democratic procedures” means plainly a nomination procedure that accords with democratic principles, and democratic principles, in turn, provide that any nomination procedure adopted must be capable of reflecting the general public views. Under such a legal framework, the practical effect of the phrase “democratic procedures” in Article 45 is that the Nomination Committee must not screen out candidates supported by the public, and must instead allow anyone who has obtained a sufficient level of public support to become a candidate. There are actually many ways to achieve this, with civil nomination, nomination by political parties and a “low threshold” nomination by a broadly representative Nomination Committee being more notable examples.
Dennis Kwok adds that although the Administration has previously said that it would listen to any views that accord with the Basic Law and the relevant decisions by the National People’s Congress, Yuen and other government officials have recently taken it upon themselves to use concepts outside of the Basic Law (such as “collective will” and “balanced participation”) to impose further limits on the consultation. Dennis Kwok criticizes this as “screening out” opinions.