Protestants in Hong Kong will hold elections next month to choose seven representatives to the Election Committee, the Christian Council announced yesterday. Convenor of the council's working group on the issue, Alice Yuk Tak-fun, said she hoped the election on October 29 would broaden democratic participation and demonstrate the possibility of universal suffrage. She said the council had decided to send members to the committee, despite believing that the electoral system was unfair, because they were bound by law and civic duty. 'Hong Kong is still far behind in democracy and universal suffrage. But I think we are living in a political reality and it's better to be more positive, more progressive and aggressive than just sitting back and doing nothing,' Dr Yuk said. The council held similar elections to select its representatives to the first election committee in 1998. It drew 5,000 voters. Working group member Michael Lai Kam-cheung said he expected a greater turnout this time. 'We've had the experience of last time, and civil society, which includes Christians, is more aware of political and social issues.' The council has invited more than 1,000 churches of various denominations to vote in the election. Dr Yuk estimated there were 250,000 Protestants in Hong Kong, and all church members over the age of 18 would be eligible to vote. Adult church members who are registered voters will be eligible to run for election. They can either be nominated by their church, seminary or institute, or gather 20 signatures from church members. After the election, the council will create a website to allow Christians to put forward their expectations to the next chief executive. Catholics, Protestants, Taoists, Buddhists, Muslims and Confucians share 40 seats on the 800-member Election Committee, which will select the next chief executive in March.