Disqualified Legco candidate files petition with High Court asking if New Territories West lawmakers were duly elected
Localist Andy Chan Ho-tin is first to challenge polls within two-month period counting from gazette of results
The first candidate to be disqualified from last Sunday’s Legislative Council elections over his pro-independence stance also became the first of the lot to challenge the government through an election petition yesterday.
Andy Chan Ho-tin asked the High Court to determine if the winners in the New Territories West constituency had been duly elected, and to declare their poll victories as void if they had not.
“After that, there might be a re-election,” the Hong Kong National Party convenor said.
Sunday’s polls returned nine candidates from a list of 20 in the constituency, with activist Eddie Chu Hoi-dick crowned the “king of votes”, after Chan and Nationalist Hong Kong’s Nakade Hitsujiko were disqualified on similar grounds.
Chan, 25, is the first to pursue such a course of against the Electoral Affairs Commission within the stipulated two-month period.
On July 30, he became the first of six candidates to be barred from running after the returning officer asserted that his “claim, support and promotion of the independence of Hong Kong are mutually exclusive with the legislative intent” and the Basic Law.
The localist candidate had refused to signed a newly introduced additional declaration form, which reinforced acknowledgement that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China, and ignored the returning officer’s request for more information.
The officer had cited in his notice, among other things, what Chan and his party said on social media. Yesterday Chan argued that the officer had unlawfully inquired into matters he was not permitted to consider.
These are among the multiple irregularities in the elections which resulted in his invalidation, despite that he had fulfilled all statutory eligibility requirements, he said. The determination was also procedurally unfair and had infringed his right to stand for election and the right of voters, he continued.
“I must strongly condemn Hong Kong’s communist, colonial government,” Chan told reporters as he emerged from court after filing the 11-page document.
He said the government had been so determined to suppress advocates of Hong Kong independence that it was willing to do so at the expense of “tearing apart the illusion of Hong Kong being a rule of law society”.
“[The returning officer] based [the decision] upon some materials other than the nomination form ... which is unlawful,” Chan explained. “They can’t just verify my nomination according to my political stance.”
Chan, who is still waiting for the result of his legal aid application filed in July, said he expected the petition could take years to process. “To be honest, I don’t know what the result will be. But based on law, if Hong Kong is still a rule of law society, it will certainly be successful.”