Hong Kong's Beijing-backed election reform faces defeat by lawmakers

Hong Kong election reform proposals that sparked massive street protests last year in the southern Chinese financial center are set to be presented to lawmakers, who will likely reject them.

The proposals tabled for a legislature debate Wednesday would allow the former British colony's top leader to be chosen by voters through direct elections rather than by a 1,200-member panel of Beijing-friendly elites.

But voters would only be able to choose from a set of candidates screened by the panel, as required by China's central government.

Pro-democracy leaders have blasted the plan as "fake democracy."

Hong Kong's government needs the support of at least two-thirds of the 70 lawmakers to win approval.

But lawmakers from pro-democracy parties have vowed to veto it. They hold 27 seats, giving them veto power.