Watchdog for poll predicts few complaints

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 August, 1995, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 August, 1995, 12:00am

THERE will be fewer election complaints as candidates and political parties become more familiar with the rules, according to the election watchdog.

And the number of complaints regarding September's Legislative Council poll was small compared to the previous two campaigns, Mr Justice Woo Kwok-hing, chairman of the Boundary and Election Commission, said yesterday.

Only 10 complaints had been sent to the commission almost a week after nominations were opened.

There were more than 40 complaints in the first week of nominations for the District Board election last September.

Mr Justice Woo said political parties and candidates were becoming more familiar with the guidelines as well as electoral laws.

'Many of the complaints in the previous elections arose from misunderstanding of the rules,' he said.

He added that he expected the final number to be significantly lower than the previous elections.

Most of the current complaints concerned problems over the display of election material.

None had to be transferred to other law enforcement bodies such as the Independent Commission Against Corruption.

But Mr Justice Woo warned voters, especially young ones eligible for the first time, that they should not consider accepting bribes from candidates or their supporters.

He warned that bribery and the wielding of undue influence were serious offences under the Corrupt and Illegal Practices Ordinance, carrying a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

Mr Justice Woo also reminded young people to exercise the right to vote.

More than 100,000, or 65 per cent, of the people aged under 21 have registered as voters since the age limit was lowered to 18 last year.