June 06, 2005

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Hong Kong's democratic deficit

Democratic Chief Executive candidate Lee Wing-tat is whinging that The Don is "running a PR show rather than an election campaign", says the SCMP.

He criticised him for holding closed-door meetings with Election Committee members and failing to reach out to the public...Mr Tsang did not take part in the first public forum with his election rivals on Saturday, although he was invited. While Mr Lee and the third contender, legislator Chim Pui-chung, were at the forum in Wan Chai, Mr Tsang was meeting members of the Election Committee.
In fact The Don is doing exactly what he should. He is only chasing the votes of 800 people, not the Hong Kong public. Why should he bother turning up at public forums when no-one else can vote? And the Democrats are effectively just running a PR campaign themselves, given they've got no realistic chance of winning the race.

Indeed the democratic camp have missed a major opportunity to expose everything that's wrong with Hong Kong's current electoral system. Refer to this chart from the SCMP:


The 800 member Election Committee is the formalisation of special interest groups. The above, albeit rather meaningless, graphic demonstrates that all each sector wants is for its interests to be looked after. Yet do you see any part of that graphic representing what is best for Hong Kong's public? It's consumers? No, of course not. This system institutionalises special interest groups while in places such as the US the influence of special interest groups is an ongoing issue being grappled with. Would you feel well represented if you knew the Chief Executive was elected thanks to promises to each of these special interest groups to advance their various causes? That's the big problem with Hong Kong's democratic deficit. If only the "democrats" would talk about it.

posted by Simon on 06.06.05 at 10:06 AM in the


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Well said. And as special interest groups care only about their own intersts, there can never be concensus. This makes governing much more difficult.

posted by: Terry on 06.06.05 at 11:05 AM [permalink]

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