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153 validly nominated for HK's LegCo election

By LI BINGCUN and CHEN SHUMAN in Hong Kong | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-11-20 09:55

This March 12, 2021 photo shows the exterior of the headquarters of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and the Legislative Council in Hong Kong. [Photo/Xinhua]

Vetting mechanism necessary for orderly function of the legislature

A total of 153 people running for Hong Kong's upcoming Legislative Council election were validly nominated, while one who holds a government post was disqualified, the city's committee tasked with reviewing election candidates' eligibility revealed on Friday.

People from political and legal sectors said the vetting mechanism is necessary for the orderly function of the legislature and reflected the broad representation of Hong Kong's election system.

Of the 153 eligible candidates to contest the LegCo election slated for Dec 19, 35 will run for geographical constituencies, 67 for functional constituencies, and 51 for the election committee constituency, John Lee Ka-chiu, head of the candidate eligibility review committee, said at a news conference.

Lau Tsz-chun, a registered psychiatric nurse, was disqualified as he is a part-time employee of the Hong Kong government. According to Article 39 of the Legislative Council Ordinance, any person holding a government office, whether permanent or not, shall be disqualified from being nominated as an election candidate.

Lee said the 153 eligible candidates come from various sectors and have different political stances, many of whom are young people joining the race for the first time. It is in line with the election's principle of balanced participation and broad representation.

It also proved that the revamped election system will not crush diversity and stifle competition. Regardless of the nominees' backgrounds, the committee held the same principle throughout the vetting process. The whole procedure is fair and just, Lee said, adding that slanders and distortions of the election are groundless.

Ronny Tong Ka-wah, senior counsel and executive councilor in Hong Kong, said that the eligibility review is of great importance since it prevents the election system from being undermined by disrupters.

He added that no one is disqualified simply because of holding political views different from the government. The whole review process ensures the openness and balanced representation of Hong Kong's election system.

Lau Siu-kai, vice-chairman of the Chinese Association of Hong Kong and Macao Studies, said for Hong Kong's long-term stability, upholding "patriots administering Hong Kong" and "one country, two systems" is the basic requirement for people who aspire to serve in public office. If people do not accept the principles, of course their eligibility to run for public office will be in question.

He added that what is required of patriots is very understandable, such as to uphold the Basic Law and not to harm the nation's sovereignty and security.

The Seventh Legislative Council will commence on Jan 1, and its first meeting will be held on Jan 12, according to a government news release on Friday.

The Electoral Affairs Commission also held an online briefing for election candidates on Friday evening regarding the electoral arrangement and guidelines on election-related activities and campaigns.

The LegCo election will be the second major election held under the city's revamped electoral system. More than 4.4 million voters will elect 90 lawmakers.

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