Motion for investigation of election blunders defeated
A string of errors brought Hong Kong's name into disrepute, says Margaret Ng
A motion urging Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa to launch an independent inquiry into the blunders surrounding last month's Legislative Council election was defeated last night.
The motion, moved by Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee of the Article 45 Concern Group, was backed by 16 directly elected lawmakers, most from the pro-democracy camp, but was voted down by functional constituency lawmakers.
Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong lawmakers voted against the motion, while the Liberal Party abstained.
Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Stephen Lam Sui-lung said the Electoral Affairs Commission was scheduled to submit an interim report on the polling arrangements to the chief executive early next month.
The Legco election saw a string of errors, including a design flaw in the ballot boxes, a delay in releasing the final voter turnout and vote-counting discrepancies in four functional constituencies.
There were also complaints that ballot boxes were opened at several polling stations and some electoral officers were also accused of using cardboard boxes when all the ballot boxes were filled.
Mr Lam said the shortage of ballot boxes was caused mainly by the commission's miscalculation of their capacity. The commission had received five complaints concerning opening of ballot boxes at eight polling stations during the voting process on September 12.
Democratic Party chairman Yeung Sum said the irregularities and blunders in the polling arrangements had called the credibility of the election into question and brought disrepute to Hong Kong.
Ronny Tong Ka-wah, a lawmaker from the Article 45 Concern Group, said an independent inquiry was necessary because it was inappropriate for the Electoral Affairs Commission to investigate its own errors.
But DAB chairman Ma Lik said an independent inquiry was not necessary. 'The blunders were caused by technical mistakes and the integrity of the poll was not compromised. We should wait for the release of the commission's report and then decide what follow-up action to take,' he said.