Youngsters get bigger say - and opportunities - with election role

Top News | Sophie Hui 15 Apr 2021

A 100-member national youth organization that will join the Election Committee will consider local and national interests when they vote in elections, its vice chairman says.

Five national organizations based in the mainland with local members will join the 1,500-strong Election Committee responsible for picking the city's chief executive and 40 lawmakers under electoral reforms set by the National People's Congress on March 30.

"The better the country develops, the more opportunities for youngsters," All-China Youth Federation vice chairman Clarence Leung Wang-ching said on radio yesterday.

Leung said the federation wants to find more opportunities for Hong Kong youngsters from a local perspective, but it also needs to look at the country level on youth matters.

Apart from the youth federation, Hong Kong representatives on relevant national organizations - including the All-China Women's Federation, All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce, All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese and the China Overseas Friendship Association - will take up 110 seats in the 1,500-member Election Committee.

Under the amendment bill tabled in Legco yesterday, 10 geographical constituencies will return 20 Lawmakers. The two candidates in each constituency who obtain the greatest number of votes will be elected.

Leung Che-cheung, a pro-establishment Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong lawmaker and also the chairman of the New Territories Association of Societies, said the redrawing of geographical constituencies means the pro-establishment camp will need a lot of coordination.

Speaking on radio, he added: "There are only 20 seats in geographical constituencies, which aren't enough to go around, so I personally will not consider running for election in geographical constituencies."

However, it may not be easier for candidates to win a Legco seat from the Election Committee constituency than the geographical constituency, Leung said, as candidates will need to obtain at least two nominations from members in each of the five sectors of the Election Committee.

"For newcomers, it's not easy for them to get acquainted with the Election Committee members, while those committee members also do not know much about the newcomers, and may not give them the nomination. It will be better for those who have experience in serving society with recognition," he said.

Leung's New Territories Association of Societies has more than 330 subordinate organizations.

Hong Kong members of the Basic Law Committee and the China Law Society will also be included in the Election Committee under the 30-seat legal sector.

Executive Councillor Ronny Tong Ka-wah said he believes the arrangement would prevent the pro-democracy camp from taking all 30 seats in the legal sector again. He estimates that the pro-democracy camp can get 10 to 12 seats in future Election Committee elections.

The bill went through its first and second readings.

Lawmaker Martin Liao Cheung-kong, who chairs the subcommittee related to the electoral changes, hopes the bills committee can finish scrutinizing the bill in mid-May and that the council can pass the bill after its third reading by the end of May.

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