Legco candidate could get a seat with 6pc of the vote

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 January, 2003, 12:00am

New Legislative Council electoral arrangements have been mapped out by the government in which the largest geographical constituency will have twice the number of seats of the smallest.

The proposals mean some candidates may easily win seats with only 6 per cent of the votes cast, raising doubts over the winner' mandates in representing the public.

The Basic Law states that the number of directly-elected seats will rise from 24 to 30 for next year's poll.

Officials have proposed keeping the existing five geographical constituencies, with each being given more seats to cope with population growth.

Under the proposal, the number of seats in New Territories West will rise from six to eight, double the number for the smallest constituency Kowloon West, which will be given an extra seat to take it up to four.

The remaining three new seats are expected to be distributed to three other constituencies.

Candidates may run as a team, with the number of seats secured to be determined by the proportion of votes they win in a constituency.

Li Pang-kwong, an election analyst at Lingnan University, said candidates in New Territories West could easily win the last one or two seats being contested.

'It will be almost counting on your luck. I suppose 6 per cent of votes will get you the final seat there,' he said. 'Of course, the question of whether that legislator is representative will arise.'

Based on the vote share in 2000, Dr Li expected that the pro-democracy camp could win three of the overall six new seats next year. He said the controversy over the proposed security law could place the pro-Beijing camp in a more disadvantageous position.

Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung conceded that the final seat in New Territories West could be secured with only 20,000 votes.

But he rejected claims that the system was unfair, saying the final seat in the four-seat Kowloon West required a similar amount of votes.

He said keeping the five constituencies would enable incumbent members to maintain their links to their voters, adding that the numbers of seats was proportional to the population.