NPC voting procedure 'definitely wrong'

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 August, 2002, 12:00am

A local National People's Congress deputy has criticised a new voting procedure for upcoming elections as 'definitely wrong' as it could result in better chances for the pro-democracy camp to win seats.

Speaking yesterday, Ma Lik, of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong, said the new system just agreed by the NPC Standing Committee would also reduce the chances of independents. In the upcoming December election, the 1,000 voters will comprise Legco members, Election Committee members, local NPC deputies and other advisers to Beijing. They will choose 36 new deputies.

Under the old system, each voter nominated at least 36 candidates in a first ballot, with a minimum of 54 candidates progressing to the next round. In the second round of voting, to get elected as one of the 36 deputies, a candidate had to receive the support of more than half of the voters. Under the new system, voters would not be required to choose a minimum of 36 candidates in the first round.

This could mean that lobbying could see a pro-democracy figure progress to the second round. Other candidates could be knocked out if they did not pursue votes they previously could have counted on under the old system.

Mr Ma said the changes would encourage lobbying.

'Pro-democracy candidates such as Lau Chin-shek could lobby for 400 votes and win the first ballot, while some other conservative candidates could drop out,' he said.

Mr Lau, of the Confederation of Trade Unions, and other Democrats have indicated they may run in the election despite outrage from the pro-Beijing camp.

Mr Ma said a consensus was reached among local deputies that the new procedure was not suitable. He said the group would decide whether to appeal to the Standing Committee at a meeting later this month.