Hong Kong's new election law criticized Proportional system of representation called a rollback of democracy

September 29, 1997|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

HONG KONG -- After a marathon 18-hour debate, Hong Kong lawmakers approved a new election law yesterday that critics say is a rollback of democracy under Chinese rule.

As the sun rose yesterday morning, the 60-member Provisional Legislature voted to change Hong Kong's electoral system from the "winner-take-all" method similar to the United States' to proportional representation -- a system the government says will prevent one party from dominating the Legislature. Elections are scheduled for May.

The Provisional Legislature also limited the number of people who will be allowed to choose the corporate representatives who will occupy 30 of the 60 seats, disenfranchising nearly 2.5 million residents who were eligible to vote through their companies in the last elections.

"This a great leap backward for democracy," said Martin Lee, the leader of the Democratic Party, which held the previous Legislature's largest bloc of seats before it was dissolved when Hong Kong reverted from British to Chinese rule July 1. Under the new system of proportional representation, the Democrats are not expected to fare as well in the next elections.

Hong Kong's new chief executive, Tung Chee-hwa, had urged the appointed members of the Legislature to approve the rule unchanged, and an administration official warned before the debate that the government would override any amendments that significantly changed the proposals.

Pub Date: 9/29/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.