1,067 hopefuls eye seats on poll body

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 March, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 March, 1998, 12:00am

A total of 1,067 people have been nominated for 683 places up for grabs in the Election Committee.

The seven-day nomination period ended yesterday with 95 people in four sub-sectors securing uncontested seats. Six religious groups have named people for their 40 reserved seats, bringing the total number of nominees to 1,107.

The uncontested subsectors are: the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Chinese Manufacturers' Association, the Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The other 972 candidates will face a vote within their respective functional constituency subsectors on April 2.

In numerous subsectors, the number of nominees only slightly exceeded the number of seats available.

In the textile and garment grouping, 13 candidates will contest 12 seats, while in finance, 15 will vie for 12.

The fiercest competition will occur in constituencies where individual professionals each have a vote. The information technology sub-sector is the most hotly contested, with 53 people bidding for 20 places. In the hotel subsector, 30 people are vying for 11 seats.

Winding up the nomination drive, Deputy Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Robin Ip Man-fai said he was happy with the result.

He rejected suggestions the fact that four subsectors had been returned uncontested and that many lacked significant competition would deal a blow to the representativeness of future legislators chosen by the Election Committee.

'Representativeness is not calculated merely by the number [of candidates]. The crucial thing is that the committee has had its members drawn from a wide spectrum of people at different levels of society,' he said.

But Mr Ip admitted the April 2 race could not be compared with a geographical poll. He refused to speculate on the voter turnout on April 2, but called on employers to make arrangements for their staff to cast ballots at the 96 polling stations.

Dr Li Pang-kwong of Lingnan College's Department of Politics and Sociology predicted the turnout would be poor.

Dr Li said because the April 2 vote was only to select representatives to vote for 10 legislators on May 24, there was no incentive to travel a long way to cast ballots.

A poll conducted by the Social Sciences Research Centre of the University of Hong Kong found more than 90 per cent of respondents did not know there would be a subsector election on April 2.

Of the total 547 respondents contacted last Tuesday about 56 per cent had no idea that an election would take place on April 2.