PRICES GO UP AT THE GATE
Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen is meeting pro-establishment lawmakers to secure their support ahead of the announcement of the constitutional reform proposals.
Speculation is mounting that the package will be announced next Wednesday, a day after the Executive Council gives its approval.
Lawmakers from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, Liberal Party, Economic Synergy, and two alliances of independent legislators from functional constituencies - commonly referred to as the Professional Forum and the "Five- individual-man" - said yesterday they had or will meet Tang to discuss constitutional reform.
But DAB vice chairman Ip Kwok- him said Tang did not mention any precise reform policy.
Asked whether the reform proposals will be announced by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, Ip said: "The last time it was [then chief secretary] Rafael Hui Si-yan who announced it."
Professional Forum's Priscilla Leung Mei-fun said her group met Tang yesterday afternoon.
"We stressed our disapproval of the DAB plan to create five new district council constituencies," Leung said.
However, Wong Kwok-kin, of the pro-Beijing Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, said his group had not been contacted.
"Maybe this is because we have [federation president] Cheng Yiu-tong on the Executive Council. We always get the news at the last minute," Wong said.
Civic Party lawmaker Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, whose party advocates a three-stage escalation of the fight for universal suffrage including the resignation of all 23 pan-democrats legislators, was dismayed by Tang's move.
"If the government only listens to the views of its allies, it is merely a cage consultation," Eu said, adding it would be a disaster if the government accepted the DAB proposal, which is a rehash of the 2005 proposals.
Central Government Liaison Office deputy director Li Gang said the 2017 election plans will not be affected by the review.