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Hong Kong's number two denies report ignored public views

Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam has denied accusations from pro-democracy lawmakers that the government's report for electoral reform ignored some of the views gathered from the public during a five-month consultation.

HONG KONG: Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam has admitted she is not very confident on reaching a consensus on universal suffrage in the territory.

The government had made public the details of its Electoral Reform Report to China's Central Government on Tuesday (July 15).

Beijing had pledged to introduce universal suffrage in the 2017 election for the next chief executive.

The city's number two has denied accusations from pro-democracy lawmakers that the government's report for electoral reform ignored some of the views gathered from the public during a five-month consultation.

Chief Secretary Lam said the government "didn't make choices" on what to exclude in the report.

The main sticking point on electoral reform dividing Hong Kong people is how candidates for the top job can be chosen.

Democracy advocates want public nomination, while Beijing insists on a nomination committee entrusted to screen candidates.

Lawmakers from both sides of the pro-establishment and pro-democracy divide say that discussions should now focus on the composition of the nominating committee.

Jasper Tsang Yok-Sing, president of the Legislative Council, said: "It takes two to tango. Both the Executive authority and my colleagues in the Legislature should think in the best interest of the community of Hong Kong people, and try to build the constructive working relationship that is required, which is very often lacking."

Mr Tsang frequently acts as a middle-man between Beijing and the opposition in Hong Kong.

He has admitted that his role in parliament has become harder with the recent stonewalling tactics of opposition lawmakers.

Student group Scholarism had organised a sit-in in Central earlier this month.

They are planning a civil disobedience movement in August after China's parliament decides on the need for electoral reform.

Scholarism believes that the final proposal will not be democratic.

Agnes Chow, Scholarism spokeswoman, said: "In June and in July, both in the civil referendum in late June and also in the march in the first of July, many people came out and voted and came out to join the protest to say that they want real and direct nomination rights in the CE (Chief Executive) election in the future.

“So we cannot agree what Carrie Lam said that the majority think that the civil nomination should not be implemented. Because many Hong Kong people actually came out and showed their true and real opinion."

Pro-democracy group Occupy Central says the report fails to express the opinion of some legal experts that civil nomination does not go against the Basic Law, the city's mini-constitution.

The group's organiser Benny Tai is calling on the Central Government to defer its decision to endorse the report, to allow for more dialogue to reach a consensus on electing Hong Kong's next leader. 

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