'Significant meanings' attached to electionsTop News | Wallis Wang 20 Sep 2021
The Election Committee polls yesterday carried "significant meanings" as the 1,500-member body is a major gatekeeper for elections for the Legislative Council in December and the chief executive in March, the city's leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor stressed.
Speaking before the elections opened at 9am, Lam said all 1,500 EC members will have to take an oath to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to Hong Kong, adding the preliminary plan is to ask them to do so by signing papers.
"This election has significant meanings," Lam said. "For a long time, some anti-China people have entered our political system through elections. They have taken a highly politicized stance in the Legislative Council, which was against the SAR and the central governments, and obstructed the development of Hong Kong's economy and people's livelihood."
Lam added that the objective of improving the local electoral system is to ensure "patriots administering Hong Kong" and the EC will keep people who do not uphold the Basic Law from the political system.
"This is a very legitimate objective of any public election in any government," she said.
Lam said the electoral reform had extended the committee's membership to over 40 subsectors, including grassroots organizations, mainlanders in Hong Kong and members of national bodies which were not covered in previous elections.
She said all EC members will need to take an oath, the same as other civil servants. "But there is a huge number of committee members. Our current plan is to ask them to sign a written oath before taking up their seats as Election Committee members," Lam said.
The EC will widely represent public opinions and will drive the SAR into a new era for a better livelihood and blend into the nation's development.
"With the central government's support for us in the 14th five-year plan, as well as the development of the Greater Bay Area and the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone, I assure Hong Kong citizens that the future of the SAR will become brighter under the one country, two systems principle," she said.
Lam said there was "something wrong" in the 2019 district council elections when a large number of pro-democracy candidates won the seats. But the oath-taking requirement for district councillors almost cleaned up all their seats.
"What we have to do now is to arrange oath-taking for incumbent district councilors so that we can know how many of them meet the requirements for public officials before thinking about how district councils should operate with its remaining two-year term," she said. Some 260 district councillors have resigned so far.
On Saturday, Lam met with Vice Premier Han Zheng in Shenzhen. He told her the three major elections, including the one yesterday, must be held smoothly.
Asked whether her meeting was related to her potential reelection bid, Lam said her tenure lasts until June 30 next year so "as the chief executive, I'm responsible for reporting and explaining Hong Kong affairs to the central government and seeking support from them," Lam said.
"I will continue to do these tasks in the coming months and I hope people will not interpret them as personal interests."
Lam said she told Han Hongkongers have been longing for a border reopening and that the SAR has achieved "zero infection" of local cases for over a month.
She said Han told her that he understands the demand to resume cross-border travel and that he has required authorities to arrange a meeting between mainland and Hong Kong health experts.
Editorial: Lam's score card gets election credit