'List voting' lets candidates run as independents
QUINTON CHAN and Linda Choy
Candidates will not necessarily have to form an alliance or join a political party to stand in the polls.
The SAR will be divided into five constituencies, with each containing three to five seats, according to the size of population.
A so-called 'list voting system' is to be adopted, under which candidates will be nominated on a list submitted by political groups or parties.
However, independent candidates would be allowed to nominate themselves, said the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs.
Ballot papers are to show a list of parties and their candidates.
Votes will be cast for a party rather than a candidate.
If a party wins one seat, the first candidate on its list fills it.
Seats will be awarded in proportion to the number of votes the parties receive.
The number of valid votes in the constituency is divided by the number of seats.
So in a five-seat constituency in which 10,000 votes are cast, a party which wins 2,000 votes will be guaranteed one seat.
If only two parties win 2,000 or more votes, the remaining three seats go to the parties with the next highest number of votes.
Mr Ng said there had been criticism that the results of the single-seat, single-vote system adopted for the 1995 elections had not reflected the public's views.
'One of the options which can deal with this problem is certainly the proportional representation system.
'Some other systems may also be able to achieve this goal, but proportional representation . . . certainly can have this effect,' he said.
Mr Ng said the system was used widely, citing Ireland, Germany, Romania and Austria as examples.
Mr Ng denied the system was adopted to prevent a repeat of the landslide victory by pro-democracy groups in the 1991 and 1995 polls.
'There is no such thing . . . as a perfect electoral system in this world.' He said every system had its problems, advantages and special features.
'But it must be perceived to be generally fair and open,' he said.