China rules out polls in HK

Agence France Presse

Beijing, April 26:

China today ruled out direct elections for Hong Kong’s leaders in 2007, extinguishing hopes of a swift transition to full democracy in the former British colony.

In a widely expected decision, the National People’s Congress, ruled that universal suffrage would not be used to elect Hong Kong’s chief executive in 2007 or the territory’s legislature a year later.

“Conditions do not satisfy the general election of the chief executive after nomination of a nomination committee with broad representation through democratic procedures,” the ruling, reported by the Xinhua News Agency, said.

Analysts said the ruling breached the ‘one country, two systems’ formula used to govern Hong Kong since the 1997 handover from Britain, and reflected Beijing’s nervousness over increasing demands for democracy in the territory.