Track record will be key in Hong Kong's district council polls
The district council election is known to have a relatively low threshold for nomination. Anyone can come forward as long as he or she has met the basic statutory requirement and secured support from 10 voters in the constituency.
As in the past, the contest has attracted hopefuls from all walks of life - politicians, social activists and businessmen, many of whom have good education and long experience in serving the community.
Adding to the diversity this year are three women who have participated in competitions of a different nature. They have either won or reached the finals of high-profile beauty pageants and are now trying their hand at politics.
Although their background as beauty queens is not featured prominently in their campaigns, they have become a talking point, which helps raise public awareness of the ballot scheduled for Sunday.
Some political parties are also putting emphasis on candidates who are young and well-educated. For instance, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong is fielding 171 aspirants, 109 of whom have attained university degrees. More than 20 per cent are newcomers.
A quarter of the 95 contestants put forward by the Democratic Party are aged 30 or below, the youngest being 21. It is good to see that the parties are giving the younger generation more opportunities and that there are more young aspirants coming forward.
A projection of energy, or simply being good-looking, is no doubt a political asset. But voters are sophisticated enough to tell whether there is more substance to a candidate.
Unlike the Legislative Council elections in which political orientation and name recognition play an important part in voting decisions, it is said that voters in the lower-tier election attach more importance to experience and achievement.
They vote for candidates who can best represent and help them. Those who have a solid track record in serving the constituency stand a better chance of winning.