Banner ruling disappoints
By FUNG WAI-KONG
THE 53 candidates who registered yesterday for the elections will have to wait two weeks until they can put up their banners and signboards on the streets.
Some candidates and campaign managers said the new arrangement could lower the level of awareness of electors, leading to a lower turnout rate.
According to the latest election guideline set by the Boundary and Election Commission, no display of election advertisements will be allowed on any public land, including public housing estates, before the close of nominations.
These spots will be allocated to candidates either by mutual consent or the drawing of lots on January 24.
There were a large number of complaints in September's district board election of candidates putting up their signboards without proper authorisation.
The Boundary and Election Commission revised the rules as a result.
Wong Sing-chi, a candidate in Northern district, said the new requirement would make the election less interesting in the first two weeks. Many people would not know the election was going to take place.
'Without these banners and signboards in the streets, the election looks very quiet,' said Mr Wong.
He said the Lunar New Year holiday, at the end of this month, would further divert the electors' attention.
'Candidates will have only about four weeks to conduct their campaign at full strength,' he said, 'and this could lower public interest in voting on March 5'.
Chan Kan-kam, a campaign manager for a candidate in Tuen Mun, said the arrangement would hamper electioneering.
The chairman of the Boundary and Election Commission, Mr Justice Woo Kwok-hing, rejected the criticisms and said the new arrangement would not lower people's interest.
There was still plenty of time for candidates to conduct their campaigns and introduce themselves to the electors.