Press Releases in Hong Kong

Lam: New HK electoral system a start to quality democracy

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor speaks during a press conference before the Executive Council meeting on Sep 21, 2021. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Tuesday that the city's newly implemented electoral system would bring high-quality democracy in line with Hong Kong's reality and ultimately benefit its people.

She told Tuesday's routine morning news conference in response to questions about the election results of the Election Committee announced early the day before.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the new electoral system, including an expanded Election Committee with enhanced power, would better suit Hong Kong's constitutional order under the "one country, two systems"

The new 1,500-strong Election Committee was formed by 364 winners of the subsector Election Committee elections on Sunday – the first elections under Hong Kong's reformed electoral system, and ex officio members, nominees and candidates returned uncontested. They will be responsible for nominating and electing the next chief executive, nominating Legislative Council members and electing nearly half of 90 LegCo members.

Lam said it will be seen as to whether the new electoral system will truly improve governance efficiency and help address their concerns, including housing and Hong Kong's integration into national development. These criteria are the test of whether the system is a high-quality one with the spirit of democracy.

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"Don't forget that the ultimate goal of democracy is for the great good of the people," she said.

She said that the new electoral system, including an expanded Election Committee with enhanced power, would better suit Hong Kong's constitutional order under the "one country, two systems", and would facilitate the "executive-led" political system with the chief executive at the core.

At the same time, the system, with an emphasis on "patriots administering Hong Kong", would prevent the risk of nonpatriots entering the governing structure of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region through electoral loopholes and threatening national security, Lam noted.

Such a risk was not imaginary, she said. The real threats that have emerged in the past two years prompted the National People's Congress to make the decision in March this year to amend annexes I and II to the Basic Law to improve the city's electoral system and ensure that "patriots administer Hong Kong", she added.

"Not a single patriot has been forbidden to run because of his or her political differences," she said.

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Lam also acknowledged that the counting process on Sunday was not ideal with the release of the results delayed for hours until early Monday morning.

Lam apologized to the candidates who had to stay up waiting at the central counting station at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, adding she would urge the Electoral Affairs Commission to optimize the arrangements to prevent the reoccurrence of such a delay in the upcoming Legislative Council election on Dec 19.