Five new Legco seats split unevenly

PUBLISHED : Friday, 24 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 24 June, 2011, 12:00am


People living in New Territories West may find they are under-represented in the next legislature compared with those in Legco's New Territories East and Hong Kong Island constituencies if proposals by the Electoral Affairs Commission are adopted.

The commission leaves the boundaries of the five geographical constituencies unchanged but distributes five new directly elected seats unevenly among them, based on population projections and other factors.

Of the new seats, added under electoral reforms approved last year, two will be allocated to New Territories East and one each to New Territories West, Kowloon East and Hong Kong Island. No additional seat is given to Kowloon West.

The election watchdog said the proposed allocation took into account population, the consistency of Legco electoral boundaries with district administration boundaries and transport between districts.

The legislature will have 35 directly elected lawmakers next year. Based on the government's population projection for that year, each geographical constituency legislator should represent an average of 205,163 citizens. Electoral laws allow a deviation of the population in each constituency from the number of people theoretically to be represented, but the deviation cannot be more than plus or minus 15 per cent.

Under the plan unveiled yesterday, the projected population in New Territories West would be 10.78 per cent bigger than the number that nine lawmakers should represent on average. In New Territories East, the projected population falls 8.21 per cent short.

In other words, the ratio would be one lawmaker to 227,277 residents in the west, compared with one to 188,322 in the east.

Hong Kong Island residents would be even more over-represented than those in New Territories East. Its lawmaker-to-residents ratio would be one to 185,114.

Commission chairman Barnabas Fung Wah, a judge, said the commission had considered various options, including redrawing the boundaries, but found the present proposal best. 'Unless necessary, we avoid splitting a District Council constituency between two Legco constituencies.'