In a move that highlighted the difficulty of consolidating Hong Kong’s “umbrella movement,” protest leaders on Sunday scrapped plans to conduct a poll asking supporters to vote on what the democracy movement’s next move should be as the sit-ins entered their fifth week. The electronic vote was called off hours before it was to commence, with organizers citing differences of opinion among various protest subgroups and worries about the poll’s methodology and security. “There’s lots of conflict and lots of different opinions, and after talking with occupiers in different protest sites, we understand their point of view and would like to suspend the voting,” said Alex Chow, leader of the Hong Kong Federation of Students and one of the main protest organizers.
The electronic ballot was supposed to be held Sunday and Monday and was going to ask participants to vote on two motions regarding election procedures in the former British colony, which returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a framework known as “one country, two systems.” The Chinese territory is supposed to enjoy a high degree of political autonomy until 2047.
The first poll question was whether China’s central government should withdraw its Aug. 31 decision that would in effect limit candidates for Hong Kong’s 2017 chief executive election to two or three pre-screened candidates. The second was whether the local government should abolish so-called functional constituencies in the legislature in 2016 and allow for public nomination of candidates for the chief executive race in 2017.