Hong Kong's lawmakers quit over democracy

Five lawmakers quit Hong Kong's legislature to trigger by-elections they say will serve as a referendum on universal suffrage.

Hong Kong's lawmakers quit over democracy

Five lawmakers quit Hong Kong's legislature on Tuesday to trigger by-elections they say will serve as a referendum on universal suffrage, despite a warning from Beijing that the plan was unlawful.

The legislators -- Alan Leong and Tanya Chan of the Civic Party and activist "long hair" Leung Kwok-hung, Albert Chan and former radio talkshow host Raymond Wong from the League of Social Democrats -- say their resignation will turn the by-elections in five districts into a "de facto referendum" on democracy.

"Boycott"

The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of China's State Council said earlier this month the plan was unconstitutional and posed a "blatant challenge" to Beijing's authority.

Opinion polls have shown waning public support for the plan, and even pro-democracy groups are split over the strategy -- the influential Democratic Party decided not to participate.

Hong Kong's pro-Beijing and pro-establishment forces including the Liberal Party have said they will boycott the by-elections, making it harder for the parties contesting the polls to portray them as a legitimate referendum.

"Some people say we're causing an uprising," said Audrey Eu, a lawmaker and spokeswoman for the groups backing the referendum plan. "No, all we're doing is ... to fight for democracy."

"What we're trying to do is to give an opportunity back to the people to vote for real democracy, to vote for abolition of functional constituencies," said Eu, referring to largely pro-administration special interest groups that make up half of the legislature's 60 seats.

China has ruled voters in Hong Kong would not directly elect their leader before 2017 and the full legislature before 2020.



Agencies

Last Mod: 26 Ocak 2010, 13:52
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