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Hong Kong Leader Urges Beijing to Allow More Democracy, Suggests Delay in Direct Elections

12 December 2007

Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang makes a televised statement, 12 Dec 2007
Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang makes a televised statement, 12 Dec 2007
Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang has urged Beijing to allow greater democracy in the territory, but has recommended a delay in direct elections until 2017.

Chief Executive Tsang said Wednesday he made the suggestions in a report to China's parliament about Hong Kong people's democratic aspirations. The report was based on a three-month public consultation.

Tsang said opinion polls show that more than half the public wants the chief executive to be elected by universal suffrage in 2012. But he said delaying the move until 2017 would be more likely to win the necessary two-thirds support from Hong Kong lawmakers.

The city's legislature is dominated by Beijing loyalists, many of whom are not directly elected and who prefer to let China's leaders decide the pace of democratic reform.

Pro-democracy lawmakers criticized Tsang's report, saying he should have asked Beijing to permit full democracy in 2012 in accordance with public wishes.

Only half of Hong Kong's legislature is elected by popular vote, while the other seats are held by interest groups mostly allied to Beijing. Hong Kong's chief executive is selected by an 800-member committee also comprised mainly of Beijing loyalists.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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