Hong Kong's political system may not be as democratic as we would like, but at least our elections are generally clean. Corruption and other abuses rarely occur when we go to the polls. Indeed, our elections are among the cleanest in the region. This is because voters, candidates, and the authorities have over the years acted responsibly by building an election culture that is the envy of many democracies. That reputation has been hard earned. It is important that it is maintained as we move towards a system based on universal suffrage. Recent allegations that some people from the former village of Tsoi Yuen have been bullied out of standing in the District Council polls are therefore a matter of public concern. They say they have been told by members of the Heung Yee Kuk, which represents indigenous villagers, that they are barred from standing because they live in temporary housing after being evicted. To avoid trouble, some aspiring candidates have decided not to run. The allegations are serious. The electoral law does not restrict candidacy on the ground of one's housing status. Any registered voter aged 21 or above who has lived in Hong Kong for three years can stand for election after securing the nominations required. The response from kuk chairman Lau Wong-fat provides little comfort. He saw no need for an investigation, saying similar incidents happen in urban areas and 'people are free to talk'. Any suggestion that our election process has been corrupted should be thoroughly investigated by the law enforcement agencies, if not by the kuk. Anyone wishing to stand as a candidate must be allowed to make the decision free of pressure. Any influence by bribery, force, duress or deception is prohibited under the law. The kuk wields great influence over affairs in the New Territories. But that does not give its members the right to push out candidates they do not like. Indeed the kuk has a responsibility to ensure that elections in the New Territories are as clean as those elsewhere.