Hong Kong chief poll has 'no legal standing'

Hong Kong chief poll has 'no legal standing'
HKU Director of Public Opinion Programme Robert Chung empties a ballot box at a polling station after last day of civil referendum in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong - No practices or methods regarding reform for the 2017 chief executive election may deviate from the Basic Law, said Hong Kong's Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, who pledged to listen to the people's views reflected in a poll that has no legal standing.

Billed as a "civil referendum", the poll has been run by the "Occupy Central" campaign to pick an electoral reform package. The organizers plan to hold an indefinite blockade in Central, Hong Kong's business heart, to make the government accept its endorsed proposal.

The State Council's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office and the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong has denounced the poll for not having legal standing, since the Basic Law has not given the special administrative region authority to organise any "civil referendum".

Nevertheless, Chief Secretary for Administration Lam pledged hours before the poll closed on Sunday to "treasure" opinions expressed by "the means of voting".

The Basic Law stipulates that once the Hong Kong chief executive is elected by universal suffrage, only the nominating committee has the power to nominate candidates.

Lam maintained that the government, regardless of political circumstances, will not put forth a reform package that does not conform with the Basic Law and relevant decisions made by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress.

Since the poll started on June 20, individual participants have been identified by distinctive Hong Kong ID numbers in the online system or polling stations run by the Occupy Central organizers. The poll ended on Sunday.

The credibility of the poll has been questioned as netizens have managed to make multiple entries with ID cards that belong to minors and foreign domestic helpers.

Others claimed they had taken part in the poll with ID numbers generated by online robots.

Statistics extracted from a poll that is designed with bias and technically flawed should be interpreted with caution, said NPC deputy Wong Kwok-kin. He agreed only that, whatever the results were, the poll affirmed a strong public will to have the leader popularly elected in 2017.

The legislator of the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions also pointed out that earlier opinion polls, conducted by unbiased sampling, had already indicated that view. In particular, he noted two credible polls had shown that more than half of respondents would accept a 2017 chief executive election without an opposition candidate.

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