World Bulletin/News Desk
Pro-democracy supporters in Hong Kong are to be polled on the future of their protest, more than a month after first taking to the streets, organizers said Friday.
Sunday’s referendum could be a crucial turning point in the protests as the demonstrators are asked their views on government proposals.
“We hope we can gather protesters' opinions and get a mandate to help us decide the next step,” student leader Nathan Law told The Anadolu Agency.
“We want to know how occupiers think about the government's proposals.”
During talks with student leaders Tuesday, the government proposed sending a report to Beijing representing the views of Hong Kong residents on political reform. It also said it would consider setting up a "platform" to discuss the former British colony's long-term constitutional development.
The vote will gauge protesters’ opinions of those potential concessions.
The demonstrators will be asked two questions – if a proposed government committee should handle political reforms before 2017, when the territory is due to elect a new chief executive, and if the report on Hong Kongers’ views should be in the form of a legal document.
“I am quite sure the majority of the respondents will say yes to both motions," lawmaker Fernando Cheung, vice-chairman of the Labour Party, said in a message to an Anadolu Agency correspondent.
Protest leader Benny Tai said the referendum was scheduled to be held between 20.00 and 23.00 local time (15.00 to 18.00 Turkish time) Sunday, Apple Daily reported Friday.
Organizers will work with pollsters at the University of Hong Kong to conduct the vote. Voters will need to register with their Hong Kong Identity Card and a mobile phone number.
The electronic voting will take place at the main protest site at Admiralty, and possibly at the other sites at Mong Kok and Causeway Bay.
The results will be released Sunday night and given to the government the following day.
Student leader Alex Chow said he hoped the vote would further pressure the government to respond to protesters' demand for real universal suffrage, government-funded broadcaster RTHK reported.
"The vote has nothing to do with withdrawing," Cheung, who has stayed out overnight with protesters, said, suggesting a low chance of the protests ending.
Protesters are demanding the chief executive election, the first direct poll for Hong Kong’s leading political post, be held free from China’s influence.
Beijing has set out an electoral framework that includes a 1,200-member nominating committee that would select two or three candidates. Pro-democracy groups expect the committee would be packed with Communist Party loyalists.
Talks between the Hong Kong government and protest leaders failed to make any headway Tuesday while two days later the People’s Daily newspaper, which carries the views of China’s communist leadership, warned that the protests were impeding the region’s democratic development.
The demonstrations are seen as the biggest challenge to Beijing's control since the territory was handed over in 1997.Güncelleme Tarihi: 24 Ekim 2014, 14:47