The opposition is plotting a constitutional coup. It's so simple and straightforward it may actually work. I will try to explain as neutrally as possible here.
Led by the Civic Party, the opposition has set its sights on winning more than half of the 70 seats in the Legislative Council election in September.
The plan is then to try to veto all government bills, especially those related to funding, and the financial secretary's budget. If they succeed, this will not only paralyse the government, but force the chief executive to dissolve the legislature.
That will, of course, come with an extremely costly re-election exercise. But if the opposition can win more than half the seats the first time, they can reasonably expect to win that many again.
If the new legislature again rejects, say, the budget or any other important bill, the chief executive herself must resign under Article 52 of the Basic Law.
This is not an impossible scenario. Now, some opposition figures are thinking even further, by taking over the Election Committee for the chief executive.
This is much more difficult, though not impossible. But that's a discussion for another day.
First, let's look at some Legco election numbers.
If the district council (DC) election results last November are any guide, the opposition has a shot at winning many, if not most, of the 35 directly elected seats, as well as the five so-called super-seats under the functional constituency for the DCs.
Pan-democrats have traditionally dominated the functional constituency (FC) seats for social welfare, education, information technology, and the legal sector.
Now, it's widely believed that the three FC seats for catering, real estate and construction, and sports, performing arts, culture and publication are up for grabs as well.
Of course, the Hong Kong government will try to pre-empt such a disastrous outcome. It can, for example, disqualify as many opposition candidates as possible by branding them as secessionists or rejectionists against "one country, two systems" and the Basic Law.
Beijing can also interpret any number of provisions in the Basic Law to foil the opposition.
But any such moves will trigger legal challenges and/or a constitutional crisis, not to mention widespread protests and unrest; Washington and London will for sure intervene and turn it into an international incident.
So even if the plot doesn't succeed all the way, the opposition can still wreak havoc with the system.
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