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Civil referendum has no legal effect

June 20, 2014

A civil referendum does not exist in the Basic Law nor in Hong Kong’s domestic legislation, and has no legal effect, the Government says.


Proposals on political development should be, legally, strictly in accordance with the Basic Law and relevant interpretation and decisions of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, it said in a statement today.


Politically, the proposals should stand a reasonable chance of securing passage by a two-thirds majority in the Legislative Council.


Regarding the 'civic nomination' proposal some parties advocate, the Government has repeatedly pointed out that according to Article 45 of the Basic Law, the power to nominate Chief Executive candidates is vested in the Nominating Committee only, it added.


It noted that there are opinions in the community, including those from legal professionals, that "civic nomination" will bypass or undermine the Nominating Committe's substantive powers and is, legally, highly controversial.


Politically, such a proposal is unlikely to be conducive to forging consensus, and operationally, the feasibility of its implementation is questionable, the statement said.


The Government appeals to the community to forge consensus in a rational and pragmatic manner, and on the basis of the Basic Law and the Standing Committee’s interpretation and decisions.


In discussing specific proposals, parties should pay due regard to their legal, political and operational aspects, with a view to successfully implementing universal suffrage for the Chief Executive election in a timely manner in 2017, the statement said.