Chief Executive Carrie Lam revealed on Tuesday that she will be adding community leaders to a powerful new committee that will decide on the eligibility of all candidates for the Election Committee, Legco, and even the SAR’s top job.
The Candidate Eligibility Review Committee (CERC) was originally expected to include only a small group of principal officials, comprising a chair and two to four members.
But Lam told a press conference that she has taken heed of concerns about such an arrangement, and will expand the body with a number of community leaders.
“In the last two weeks, whenever we talk about this eligibility review committee, there was a school of thought, that... ‘ok, it’s all officials, how could you convince us that you will be very fair?’” Lam said.
“So I have accepted the view put to us so later on, we will introduce a committee-stage amendment to this bill to allow for the chief executive to appoint a number of community leaders to become members of the eligibility review committee.”
However, she did not give further specifics on exactly who will sit on this committee.
Lam also noted concerns that a sitting chief executive – as head of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security – could end up advising the CERC on the eligibility of a rival candidate.
“That could be seen as a more direct conflict of interest, because the CE will be in a position that he or she could disqualify other candidates. So I will make a rule – not in the legislation – but I will make it very clear now… that it is my view that any incumbent chief executive – if he or she is seeking another term through election… then this incumbent chief executive should not get himself or herself involved in that particular discussion at the national security committee.”