Hong Kong’s top representative in China’s highest lawmaking body defended a draft electoral amendment on Saturday, downplaying suggestions that it could lead to thousands of candidates at local legislative polls.
Reform changes now being debated in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council allows Election Committee members to nominate as many as five aspiring candidates. Tam Yiu-chung, a member of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, said he believed that the ratio was not high.
Tam also played down concerns that this arrangement could lead to as many as 7,000 LegCo candidates being nominated by the 1,500-member Election Committee. New People’s Party lawmaker Regina Ip on Friday raised the possibility during a LegCo debate.
“That’s only what comes out of a multiplication. It will not necessarily be like this,” Tam said a day later.
Under the draft amendment, aspiring candidates will need nominations by two to four members from each of the five sectors of the Election Committee in order to join the race.
One Election Committee member can effectively have the right to support five nominees, one in each of the three types of constituency in their capacity as committee members, then two more in their capacity as ordinary voters in the geographical and functional constituencies.
When asked whether Beijing had a view on the matter, Tam said that Hong Kong had the right to adjust the implementation of the new system in its own legislative process.
“If Hong Kong finds something needs further adjustment during the local legislative process, it can do so. It’s no problem,” he said.
Tam dismissed suggestions that this arrangement was meant to avoid a scenario where pro-establishment candidates did not have enough nominations to contest the election. The pro-Beijing heavyweight said he did not agree the electoral arrangements were catered for a certain group of people, and emphasized that the election would be public and open.
Under the electoral reform plan, a new 90-member LegCo will be formed in December this year, with 20 members directly elected from geographical constituencies, 30 indirectly elected from functional constituencies and 40 selected by the Election Committee.
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