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Can Functional Constituencies Co-exist with Universal Suffrage?

Young, Simon NM, "Can Functional Constituencies Co-exist with Universal Suffrage?" (January 2005). U. of Hong Kong Centre for Comparative and Public Law Occasional Paper No. 14. Available at SSRN:


    Despite the constitutional promise of universal suffrage, Hong Kong still awaits its fruition. A major difficulty is the Hong Kong and Chinese authorities' desire to retain the undemocratic functional constituency system, currently used to elect half of the members of the legislature. This paper presents a proposal for a viable co-existence of functional constituencies (FC) with universal suffrage, which could feasibly be implemented in Hong Kong by 2008. It is first proposed that all Legislative Council (Legco) members be elected by universal suffrage. A further election is held from amongst the elected LegCo members to elect, on the basis of FCs, functional members who will have a special role in the executive branch of government. The new FCs will be delineated in accordance with the policy areas of the existing Principal Officials or the Panels in LegCo. The proposal achieves three aims: it guarantees universal suffrage at its core, it corrects the many deficiencies and anomalies with the present FC system, and it realigns the FC system to provide for a more effective system of governance.
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