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Hong Kong unveils long-awaited democracy blueprint

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 11:45

Hong Kong: Hong Kong on Wednesday unveiled a political reform blueprint for electoral arrangements in 2012, seen as a "crucial step" in the former British colony`s struggle with Beijing to realize direct elections in 2017.

Hong Kong, which reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, has grappled with Beijing`s Communist Party leaders for over a decade on realizing an acceptable roadmap on universal suffrage, guaranteed as an "ultimate aim" in the city`s mini-Constitution.

The blueprint is still subject to a three-month public consultation and legislative approval.

It looks set to maintain the status quo, proposing only slightly more democratic procedures for selecting the city`s leader and legislature in 2012 and disappointing democrats in the city of seven million who plan protest marches.

Chief Secretary Henry Tang, who announced the proposed reforms to legislators in the city`s historic domed legislature, said further democratizing Hong Kong`s electoral system in 2012 was a "crucial step" to realizing direct elections in 2017.

"We have been adopting an empathetic attitude ... with utmost sincerity to roll forward Hong Kong`s constitutional development toward the aim of universal suffrage," Tang added.

Bureau Report

First Published: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 - 11:45
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