My expectation of the next Chief Executive Election
Mr Albert HO Chun-yan, Chairman of the Democratic Party and Member of the Legislative Council, was the Foundation's guest speaker on 5 July 2011. Below is his speech.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am very pleased to have this opportunity to share with you some of my thoughts on the next Chief Executive election. Actually initially, I was asked by Alan (Lung) to speak on my expectation of the next Chief Executive, but I thought that topic was not interesting.
It is quite trivial actually. Not that I want to trivialize the personalities, that is not my intention. But we have seen how the two Chief Executives performed in the past. We started with CH Tung who was then a renowned businessman of international repute, had good popularity, good connection inside Hong Kong, with China and also in the world with many international leaders. Yet he ended up with regrettably poor performance.
And then we have another Chief Executive stepping into the shoes of CH Tung who had to leave his office by more or less forced resignation. Donald Tsang performed quite well initially, but subsequently he faced a lot of challenges. It seems that he's facing a popularity crisis right now. I believe it is very difficult for him to regain his popularity in his remaining term. I would like to say that this is not entirely due to personalities. These two gentlemen have their own strong points. Donald Tsang is smart enough to climb the political ladder from the rank and file to the top man in Hong Kong. Of course he must be a smart guy.
A good system enables people with ability to work effectively
And the Chief Executive also has to face a very fragmented Legislative Council with no steady support. And he doesn't even have a team of dedicated politicians working with him. All the people he found available at that time maybe had good reputation as professionals, as bankers, and they were just drawn into the political team. But they, I'm afraid, had no common conviction and dedication at the time the team was formed. So basically that is a systemic problem.
Without changing the system, I can hardly expect that any person with political wisdom, with leadership can manage to rule Hong Kong effectively and continue to command his band, and enjoy legitimacy and be able to please several masters. We all know who the masters are, not only Hong Kong people but also the businessmen in the election committee and also leaders in Beijing. So whoever is going for the next Chief Executive, be it Henry Tang or CY Leung, they will be facing this situation. That's why we have to constantly try to fight for a good system, to enable people with ability to work effectively.
The next Chief Executive Election
The Pan-Democrats representatives have on several occasions in the past couple of weeks put our heads together. We share the view that we have to work together and that we have to do something, we have to get ourselves engaged in this election. Not that we believe that this is a genuine election, we all know that this is a fake election. It is in fact an appointment under disguise. We even have every reason to believe that if the Pan-Democrats do not stand up for the election, there would probably only be one candidate who would be elected, ipso facto, most likely this will be the situation.
Even if there is another candidate from the pro-establishment camp, I think the result is already pre-determined. So it's an appointment under disguise. Then why do we have to stand up for the election? Why do we have to take part in it? Past experience tells us, if we decide to boycott the election, and then express our strong opposition against it by protesting, we will probably be able to steal the limelight for a couple of days. And that's it. We'll be left out in the cold for the rest of the time during the election period. Nobody will be interested to know or bothered about what the Democrats are doing or will be doing. So we have to seize the opportunity to express ourselves, to seize the platform to show our determination and to unfold our vision to the whole world and to the Hong Kong public. So we should get ourselves engaged, we should not be left out in the cold. That is one thing.
Secondly, of course we have to make it quite clear that we are not seeking to legitimize the election, but we would like to seize this opportunity to express ourselves. In doing so, I think it is imperative that the parties in the Pan-Democracy camp stand together united. We have to present a clear picture of unity among ourselves and that we are not fighting one another for a fake election. It's a knowing situation but we have to show our unity and we have to take part together. To that end, it is imperative and necessary for us to work out a structure so as to enable us to choose a candidate for the purpose of demonstrating the vision of the Pan-Democracy parties.
The structuring of this process is important because as we anticipate, in 2017, in the event, likely or not, that we are going to have a genuine election. I think all the Pan-Democracy parties have to fight on a coalition. I don't think we are resourceful enough in terms of money and talent to fight for the election divided among ourselves. I don't think we can do it as we are facing such a huge and formidable opponent on the other side backed up by an invisible state apparatus. We aren't able to fight them so we have to stand united; we have to stand as a coalition. It is important for us to structure a way as to let this coalition function. And for that purpose we have to structure a way to select a commonly accepted representative of the coalition. And also we are determined to try to structure a primary election for the Pan-Democrats then obviously this would be a clear message to be sent to all those people who would also be motivated to engage themselves in the election committee elections.
We know that the election committee is important not for this term, because again by design the result is already pre-determined. An overwhelming majority would be voting according to the will of Beijing, I can tell you for sure. But we must however make sure that there should be sufficient members who are able to get into the committee and then the Pan-Democracy camp would be able to gain an admission ticket to stand up for the election. So all these are tied together. The engagement process involves the election of members of the election committee, the formation of a coalition and working party for the purpose of conducting a primary election, and then we need to build a common platform to show the whole world our dedication and our determination to strive for universal suffrage in 2017 and 2020.
Primary Election for the Pan-Democrats
To conclude, in the times to come, it is essential that we have to get ourselves continued to engage in every aspect of the political process. We are always on the weak side. The opponent is formidable but yet we are determined to continue to present ourselves as a credible opposition. We are confident that we have the support of the community and that even working as a credible opponent; we would be able to exert our influence on the government. Just look at how the recent big march had effect on the government. Engagement in politics is important. You cannot just rely on people fighting on the streets. The people have to engage themselves in the political process. They have representatives in the LegCo, the District Councils and different statutory bodies.
We will continue to work in concert to press the government for change. Of course I always believe that fighting on all fronts is important. What I did last year, which is entering into the talk with the central government, resulting in a compromise, comprising mutual concession, was important. This is one way of gaining as an advance in the days to come. Trying to grasp every opportunity to seek a dialogue would also be another dimension of Hong Kong's politics. That is the way forward.
Thank you very much for your concern for Hong Kong and we need to have the continuous support of the international community for the fight for democracy in Hong Kong.
The above does not necessarily represent the views of the Foundation.