Free and Fair Election

With the 2017 Hong Kong Chief Executive election just under a month away, it appears that Beijing-endorsed candidate Carrie Lam, who 22 nominations shy of the 601 needed to win by selection of the 1194-member Election Committee, is poised to be the next leader of Hong Kong. She and rival John Tsang, both pro-Beijing candidates, are widely perceived to be the two frontrunners in a race that also includes conservative politician Regina Ip and retired judge Woo Kwok-hing.

To many in the pro-democracy camp, Tsang is considered to be the lesser of two evils. While his loyalties do not differ from Lam’s (both are pro-Beijing candidates, after all), Tsang has adopted a more populist approach to campaigning, and has appealed to the pro-democracy camp by reaffirming their opposition to Lam. As the proverb goes, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Despite widespread public disapproval for Lam and Tsang, the public’s opposition to pro-Beijing candidates will ultimately have no impact on the results of the election–the victor on March 26th will be for the Election Committee to decide. If the public’s interest is not truly or fairly represented in the selection of a leader, then how can he or she possibly purport to serve his or her people? This pseudo-democracy has persisted for far too long. It is time that the Hong Kong public be given the opportunity to partake in a free and fair election.


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