Hong Kong protests: Demonstrators shelve poll on govt proposals due to 'differences'

A giant banner that reads "keep calm and carry on" is displayed in a street in the campsite of pro-democracy protesters in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong on Oct 25, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A giant banner that reads "keep calm and carry on" is displayed in a street in the campsite of pro-democracy protesters in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong on Oct 25, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

AN ELECTRONIC poll planned by the Occupy movement has been shelved, due to "differences in opinion" among protesters about its "practical use".

The referendum, to be carried out over two evenings on Sunday and Monday, was meant to solicit protesters' views on the movement's next step forward, following an impasse after talks with the government on Tuesday.

In particular, it was to ask them to vote on the government's two concessions offered.

One, whether a proposed report to the State Council on the Occupy movement should include a suggestion that Beijing rescinds its Aug 31 framework on Hong Kong's chief executive election.

Two, if a multi-party platform to discuss long-term constitutional reform should include public nomination in the 2017 chief executive race and the abolition of special interest constituencies in the 2016 legislative council election.

In a statement issued on Sunday afternoon, the Occupy movement apologised for "inadequate discussions with the stakeholders" prior to holding the poll.

"There are many differences in opinion on various issues... including on the complexity of the questions asked, and the practical use of the poll," it said.

"We think that a mass movement should operate on what the people want, and after detailed discussions, decided to shelve the poll."

It called on supporters to still gather at the protest sites on Sunday night, to exchange ideas on the way ahead.

The latest development indicate a difficulty for the movement, which is spearheaded by three different groups, in forging consensus.

xueying@sph.com.sg