Hong Kong election laws favour big parties, says candidate

People Power member claims big parties have an advantage in their promotional material

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 August, 2012, 2:50am

A candidate in next month's Legislative Council election is seeking a judicial review of the laws governing the poll, claiming they favour big parties that have members running in both geographical constituencies and the so-called super seats.

The challenge is based on a provision of the Legislative Council Ordinance that allows candidates in the September 9 election to sent promotional literature to each voter by post at no cost.

People Power's Chau Tsun-kiu, 24, running in Kowloon West, contends the law that allows candidates contesting different constituencies to promote each other in their election literature is unfair to parties running in only one constituency.

Subsection 4B of section 43 of the ordinance allows candidates in geographical seats to mail out a free letter promoting any number of slates of candidates running in the constituency, and promoting one slate running for the super seat, which will be elected by a citywide ballot in which 3.2 million voters - all those who do not have a vote in any of the traditional functional constituencies - are eligible to cast ballots.

Subsection 4B allows candidates running for the "super seats" to include information in their mailing about any number of slates running in any single geographical constituency.

In his application for a judicial review, Chau asks the High Court to strike down the law as unlawful and invalid.

People Power has members running only in geographical constituencies. Wong Yuk-man, who leads the slate on which Chau is standing, said of the law: "It is particularly unfair considering that the postage is paid out of the public purse. The undesirable effect is that big parties running in both constituencies will have one additional chance of free promotion."

There are five slates and two individuals running for the super seats. They include two Democratic Party slates led by Albert Ho Chun-yan and James To Kun-sun; Lau Kong-wah and a slate led by two Starry Lee Wai-king, from the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong; one from the Federation of Trade Unions under Chan Yuen-han; and one from the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood led by Frederick Fung Kin-kee. Independent candidate Pamela Peck Wan-kam is also running for the seat.

With the exception of Peck, all have party colleagues contesting geographical constituencies.

Also running for the Kowloon West seat are Wong Yee-him, Wong Yat-yuk, and slates led by Helena Wong Pik-wan, Tam Kwok-kiu, Chiang Lai-wan, Lam Yi-lai, Leung Mei-fun and Claudia Mo Man-ching.