Elections and Referendums: Trash Talk


There has recently been a lot of trash talk about the legality of the recently forced by-elections in Legco.

In an attempt to show their displeasure at the lack of true improvements in the governments proposal for democratic reform, 5 members of the pan-democratic camp choose to resign in a publicity stunt. Their said purpose was to instigate a de-factor referendum where every single citizen would have exactly one vote and no-more. The key issue they hoped to address – Democracy
Notably, there was a public split within the pan-democratic camp with the Civic Party joining the extreme likes of the League of Social Democrats in pushing for the move. On the other end, the Democratic Party followed a lopsided internal vote against the move and even banned the use of its parties name when campaigning, although it stopped short of criticising the move, instead saying that they still supported the democratic movement.

However, as the proposal began to take shape, the 5 participants, including Alan Leung, Long Hair and Tanya Chan, started to use phrases as referendum and talked of a revolution. Their insistence on the term referendum was the source of much criticism from members of the political meetings in Beijing with insistent that any referendum was illegal. The arguments then descended into whether something not banned, nor explicitly allowed by the Basic Law was legal or legal. There were even suggestions of a need for Beijing to interpret the Basic Law.

The issue really has been blown way out of proportion. Here’s the obvious facts and conclusions :

1 : Undisputed by any party is that the by-elections are legal under the Basic Law and should and must occur
2 : The pan-democrats can legitimately frame the elections as a de-factor referendum, after all, in theory every individual has just one vote and every one is represented.
3 : In reality, if the majority of voters ignore the election and simply boycott it as I feel they should, then the de-factor referendum label will loose its legitimacy
4 : Even more obvious is the fact that this is not an official referendum. It is after all not provided for in the basic law
5 : As long as it is not considered or viewed as a referendum, we don’t care if people try to label it as de-facto referendum

So get over the child like acting. After all, the more we talk about it, the more we legitimaise the ‘de-facto referendum’

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