Fury over plan to halt elections

Local | Sophie Hui 22 Apr 2021

Lawmakers have objected to a proposal to halt Legislative Council's geographical constituency elections once a candidate is disqualified.

The proposal will make it impossible for candidates to claim election expenses once the election is called off.

At a bills committee meeting yesterday, Permanent Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Roy Tang Yun-kwong said if a candidate dies or becomes ineligible for election before the polling day, the arrangement would be similar to the functional constituency elections, for which the returning officer will announce the termination of election proceedings.

As per the electoral amendment bill, there will be 20 seats in the 10 geographical constituencies of Legco. Each constituency will get two seats and a double-seat, single-vote system will be adopted in which the two candidates who obtain the most votes will be elected.

"We will take reference from the functional constituency elections and suggest to halt the election and start the nomination process afresh," he said.

Tang added that since the election was never held, candidates will not be able to claim election expenses.

Federation of Trade Unions lawmaker Alice Mak Mei-kuen said this arrangement will be unfair to eligible candidates, and some people may try to stop the elections by handing in nomination forms at the last minute.

"The scale of geographical constituency elections is big and candidates will conduct rounds of campaigning activities. And then in the middle of that, if you tell me that my rival is disqualified, I will have to stop the election and make a fresh start? This is very unfair to the candidates," Mak said.

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