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Hong Kong reveals election reforms

Published 22/04/2015

Hong Kong residents will be able to vote for the city's leader for the first time - but the reforms are still controlled by Beijing
Hong Kong residents will be able to vote for the city's leader for the first time - but the reforms are still controlled by Beijing

Hong Kong's government has unveiled election reform proposals that will allow people to vote for the city's leader for the first time.

But the plans include Beijing-backed restrictions facing stiff resistance from the city's pro-democracy MPs and c ould spark renewed protests by student leaders and other activists who led mass street occupations that lasted nearly three months last year.

Chief secretary Carrie Lam outlined the reform package's details to MP. She said that under the government's proposals, the city's five million eligible voters could choose from up to three candidates in 2017.

But she said the power to select candidates would remain in the hands of a 1,200-member panel of Beijing-friendly tycoons and other elites.

Ms Lam said the reforms would allow for up to 10 possible candidates to be shortlisted by the panel, which would then filter the number to three candidates through a secret ballot.

The proposals will be sent to the specially administered Chinese city's legislature for approval by June, but pro-democracy MPs have vowed to use their veto power to vote it down.

The rebels, most wearing yellow Xs on their shirts and some holding yellow umbrellas - a symbol of the protest movement - walked out of the legislature chamber after Ms Lam's speech.

The city's current leader, chief executive Leung Chun-ying, urged MPs to vote in favour.

"Launching political reform is not easy," said the deeply-unpopular Mr Leung, who was hand-picked for the job by the elite panel.

"If it's vetoed this time, I believe it will be a number of years before we can launch it again."

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