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LegCo hopefuls in livestreamed open debate about Hong Kong's future

By William Xu | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-11-26 21:49

In Hong Kong's first-ever livestreamed election debate, 51 Hong Kong legislator hopefuls from the Election Committee Constituency on Friday engaged in a heated discussion on thorny issues the city is currently facing, including the much anticipated border reopening, labor rights, the land supply and the aging population.

They are contesting for the 40 seats in the Election Committee Constituency, one of the three types of constituencies set out in the reformed electoral system for the 90-member legislature. The election day is set for Dec 19, when over 4.4 million registered voters will choose 90 lawmakers to serve the next four years.

The hopefuls, divided into 13 groups, were given four minutes each to describe their respective election platforms, and then answered questions related to issues that are critical to the city's development. The questions varied for each group of candidates.

The Election Committee Constituency Candidate Forum was held by the Hong Kong Coalition.

These candidates come from various sectors of society, including entrepreneurs, lawyers, educators, social workers and former government officials.

The coalition spokesperson said the forum aims at giving the public a better understanding of the newly added Election Committee Constituency.

The spokesperson said the event can give the public a fresh look of Hong Kong's election under the improved electoral system.

As voting day approaches, election preparation is also in full swing. The government is expected to announce this week a one-time voting arrangement for Hong Kong residents living on the mainland, allowing them to cast their votes at the city's closed border crossings without being subject to compulsory quarantine.

Announcing the plan on Tuesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said those who wish to vote under the new arrangement will have to register in advance and indicate which polling station they want to use. Under the plan, voters cannot enter the Hong Kong community and must return to the mainland once they cast their votes.

A total of 153 candidates are qualified to run for the election. Among them, 35 candidates will compete for 20 seats in the 10 geographical constituencies across Hong Kong; 67 will run for 30 seats in 28 functional constituencies covering different professional sectors; while 51 hopefuls will contest for the rest in the Election Committee Constituency.

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