Pro-democracy lawmaker to resign from HK legislature

Hopes resignation and ensuing by-election will pressure gov't to make concessions over political reform.

Pro-democracy lawmaker to resign from HK legislature

World Bulletin/News Desk

A pro-democracy lawmaker will resign from Hong Kong's legislature to trigger a by-election that will be seen as a de-facto referendum on the government's electoral proposals, local reports said Saturday. 

Democratic Party legislator Albert Ho said he would quit after he votes against the political reform later this year. The city's pro-democracy lawmakers have vowed to veto the government proposal over how to choose a new leader in 2017.

“The fight for democracy has been so difficult, and local residents are angry about the collusion between the government and giant businessmen,” Ho said, according to the Ming Pao newspaper. 

He added that Beijing’s framework for the 2017 election for chief executive had “broken the faith" with Hongkongers. 

The idea of a mass resignation of pro-democracy legislators has been raised before, including during the months of street protests that blocked traffic from the end of September last year.

Ho said he hoped his resignation and the ensuing by-election would pressure the government to make concessions over political reform.

According to Beijing's proposal, Hongkongers can choose their chief executive through a one-person-one-vote system but candidates will have to be approved by a pro-Beijing committee before appearing on the ballot paper. 

Ho's resignation from his "super seat" - one of five in the legislature - will trigger a city-wide election in which more than three million people are eligible to vote, according to the South China Morning Post.   

"I should take every opportunity to enable Hongkongers to show their anger, their frustrations, and protest against the central government," Ho said. "Hong Kong people should grab this chance to express their views."

The pro-Beijing president of the Legislative Council, Jasper Tsang, said Ho’s decision was “incomprehensible,” the Post reported. 

During last year's democracy protests, Ho had been urged by student leaders to resign to trigger a by-election. But there was disagreement over whether the de-facto referendum should be triggered by the resignation of one “super lawmaker” or five lawmakers from each of the geographical constituencies.

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the electoral package in the early months of the summer. The final framework needs to pass the city's quasi-parliament with a two-thirds majority. Pro-democracy lawmakers control 27 of the 70 seats in the council. 

Hong Kong was handed from Britain back to China in 1997 and its residents enjoy freedoms unavailable in mainland China.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Ocak 2015, 12:56