A lesson on the need of Universal Suffrage
in textbooks of political science, one of an advantage mentioned about Universal Suffrage or Democracy would be that it could decrease the cost of governance. For a long period of time, the pro-Establishments in Hong Kong claimed that this is another propaganda of Western intellectual. They would rather take the rise of post-1979 China as an example and claim that the Authoritarian Beijing Consensus or Singaporean governance style as a better example for a effective government. However, the recent developments on the incidents on the SACE should be regarded as a textbook example on the need of Democracy in the well-established free society such as Hong Kong.
Ten days before he swear officially, or is swore, to be CE of Hong Kong, SACE encountered two major strike on his governance of Hong Kong already. First was his failed proposal to pass his government restructuring plan in LegCo and the second was Ming Pao’s explosive report on the unauthorised building work in his mansion on the Peak. Both incidents reflected a waste of social energy to make the crooked straight.
Why these incidents could be sorted out much more quickly if he were chosen by Universal Suffrage?
Firstly, his restructure plan would be passed without a doubt. Let assume that he would still be elected, which had been quite possible in the second half of last year. Since his being elected under a fair election had reflected his support from the general public, the LegCo members who had to show their commit to the same group of voters in the coming election in September had no excuse to delay. However, SACE support from the general public is still in doubt. Any polls actually cannot match a general vote in reflecting the public opinion as the polls did not give legal power as a vote. Of course, he would still be condemned as infringing the Rule of Law. The worry of being populist would still be haunted.
Secondly, he would immediately quit if the same report exploded now. There are two reasons he simply cannot quit under the current condition. First he was called SACE, so-appointed Chief Executive, with a reason. His staying in the position highly related to the fame of the Central Government. Regarding Mr. Tung’s case, it took Beijing two years to make her felt that people forgot the real reason of Mr. Tung’s pain. Second, his being elected was a hard fought battle among local conservative communist against many other interest groups. His resignation would leave that struggle in vein, especially when we could see how much cooperation among the pro-establishment camp have been sacrificed to secure his place. Even on the pan Dem side the calling for a election petition seems to be so hesitated. At the end, it is again the problem of a small circle election.
With universal suffrage, there is no problem about saving face for Beijing. Also, the conflicts among the camps had been settled by the votes already. SACE cannot provide special offer to different camps he cannot deal with as shown today because that help nothing great in the voting process to such a 4 million voters. Another election would be held within weeks. When we can see the camps blame on each other for not cooperating, no one dare to blame the general voters. No harm done.