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Christians call for electoral change

Criticize the scandal-tainted 'small-circle election' of the new chief executive

Christians call for electoral change
Leung Chun-ying (left) and Henry Tang shaking hands at a forum reporter, Hong Kong
Hong Kong

March 1, 2012

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Religious leaders have called for changes in the election process of the special administrative region’s chief executive officer amid deepening scandals surrounding two of the leading candidates. “The congenital defect of the ‘small-circle election’ makes us angry and disappointed,” leaders from various Protestant denominations, theological seminaries and Christian organizations said in a statement to be published tomorrow in two local newspapers. The statement has been signed by more than 800 people. Local media has described this year’s election, to be held on March 25, as a contest between “the pig” and “the wolf” in reference to candidates Henry Tang Ying-yen and Leung Chun-ying respectively. Tang, a wealthy businessman turned civil servant who many believe is Beijing’s preferred candidate, has been dogged by questions about his credibility over the building of an illegal luxury basement in his wife's home and  marital infidelity. Leung, a surveyor and former Executive Council convener, leads Tang in public opinion polls despite recent allegations by local media of business irregularities and being a Communist Party member, both of which he has denied. Democratic Party chairman Albert Ho Chun-yan, the third candidate in the race, is widely thought to have little chance of winning. Reverend Lo Lung-kwong, director of the Divinity School at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the electorate deserves more from the political process. “We want to raise our fellow citizens’ awareness that the distorted electoral system will only create greater conflict of interest and social divisions.” He added that changes should be adopted before the next election. “We should cohere a consensus for universal suffrage in the 2017 chief executive election.” Hong Kong’s chief executive is elected by a 1,200-member Election Commission, which critics say favors candidates with close ties to Beijing and denies the public an adequate say in choosing their leaders. The statement further urges electors on the commission to follow their consciences in selecting the best candidate. “They must cut off any interest, listen to public opinion, study the candidates’ platforms and have independent thinking,” the statement said. Reverend Lo said whoever wins the election should be guided by what is in the best interests of the public. “He should abide by integrity, selflessness, tolerance and openness.” Related reports HK voting committee to add religious electors HK Christians pledge to fight on as reforms pass
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