Hong Kong needs to decide what model of democracy best suits its requirements because none of the versions in Asia is acceptable, leader Donald Tsang (曾蔭權) said yesterday.
He was speaking a day after he delivered his annual policy address, which lawmakers and analysts criticized for dodging weighty topics such as when the territory could achieve full democracy.
The government is studying how Western democracy has been applied in Asian political settings, Tsang told reporters yesterday.
"I do believe we need a model of our own. But in doing so, we have to see what are the drawbacks and what are the strengths of other systems in here," he said.
None of the other Asian political models -- including those in Japan, Taiwan and Singapore -- suit the former British colony, Tsang said.
"None of them seems to be fully palatable from our point of view," he said.
The government wants to ensure that any new political system does not upset social stability, reports said yesterday.
Tsang's administration is fearful of street protests similar to those in Taiwan calling for the resignation of President Chen Shui-bian, the South China Morning Post and the Apple Daily quoted an unidentified official as saying.
Hong Kong has been ruled under a "one country, two systems" model designed to allow a wide degree of autonomy since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
But voters choose only half of the 60-seat legislature, and the city's leader is picked by an 800-member committee stacked with pro-Beijing figures.
Pro-democracy parties have insisted that voters should directly elect the leader, but Beijing has said that Hong Kong isn't ready for this.
In his policy address on Wednesday, Tsang said the development of democratic politics is a major challenge for the next leader. Tsang is widely expected to seek re-election in March.