Hong Kong district council election: unsuccessful poll contenders not in the running for appointed seats under revamped system, minister says
Hong Kong’s constitutional affairs chief has stressed that unsuccessful candidates in the coming district council poll will not be considered as appointees to fill the 179 municipal body seats chosen by the city’s leader under the revamped electoral system.
The government was unable to consider contenders running for seats returned by the popular vote for appointments because the selection process was already under way, Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang Kwok-wai on Saturday said.
“We are searching for appointed district councillors at the same time, so we are not considering district council [candidates] who are running for election, as we won’t know who will win or lose,” he said on a television programme.
Under the government’s overhaul of the 18 district councils, 88 seats are decided by popular vote, 179 are appointed by the city leader, 176 spots are chosen by three area committees in each district and another 27 are held by ex officio members who are rural leaders.
The minister said the list of appointees chosen by Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu would likely be announced up to two days after the poll on December 10, giving authorities little time to consider election results.
The coming election will be the first since the local government revamped the municipal-level bodies earlier this year to align with Beijing’s “patriots-only” policy.
A total of 399 candidates will compete for the 88 directly elected seats up for grabs on December 10, with local authorities recently stepping up efforts to encourage voters to cast their ballots amid concerns over the possibility of a low turnout.
Tsang said more promotional drives were in the pipeline, such as a new round of clips of local celebrities touting the election. The footage is expected to drop in the next two weeks, he added.
The minister also stressed that it was the government’s responsibility to promote the poll, but officials had set no hard targets for the turnout.