All but one Legco hopeful cleared to run

All but one person who signed up to run in next month’s Legco polls have been cleared to stand as candidates, with a vetting body deeming them to be patriotic.

The Candidate Eligibility Review Committee screened 154 would-be Legco candidates. It disqualified one of them, Lau Tsz-chun, who hoped to run in the functional constituency race for the medical and health services sector seat.

He was disqualified because he works part-time in a government department.

Over a dozen non-establishment figures who had thrown their hats into the ring managed to pass the screening, including one who posted a protest slogan on social media in 2019.

Asked about the eligibility of this candidate, Chief Secretary John Lee said the vetting body he chairs had looked at each case in a comprehensive manner.

“When we are vetting the cases, we will ask the person to provide more information and an explanation for certain incidents if needed… We will prudently look at all the information… and consider the time, background and circumstances of certain incidents, the laws applicable at the time and whether they are retroactive, as well as the person’s explanation,” he said.

At a press conference, Lee was also asked about the government’s expected voter turnout at the December 19 polls, with several reporters suggesting there might be a lacklustre response to the elections.

“What is important is the election system after improvement will be producing candidates who will be broadly representative of society and there will be balanced participation, and the improved election system will prevent previous chaos,” Lee replied.

“There are people in Hong Kong who because of their political stance indicated opinions against the election system. A few of them have even taken unlawful action to advocate people not to vote or cast invalid votes. We will deal with it, without a doubt.”

Lee urged the public to vote, so those against the election system won’t succeed.

The minister added that officials are still working out how polling stations can be set up in the border area so Hong Kong residents on the mainland can vote, and an announcement will be made when things are finalised.