Govt officials to have final say on poll candidates

  • Govt officials to have final say on poll candidates

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that a committee to vet potential election candidates will be comprised of “a few principal government officials”.

Lam said Hong Kong needs the new “Candidate Eligibility Review Committee” because in the past, returning officers tasked with vetting candidates had been threatened and doxxed.

She said top officials are experienced and will be capable of making an analysis according to the law when scrutinising would-be election candidates.

Lam added that the officials will also be trusted by the central government.

The CE and government ministers are on the Committee for Safeguarding National Security which will also help vet potential candidates for future Legco elections and CE races. At a press conference, Lam was asked whether there will be any conflict of interest, with the chief executive potentially deciding on future election opponents, and government officials their possible future bosses.

“The chief executive candidate will not be a nobody in Hong Kong. So whatever committee whatever principal officials, it is not up to them to arbitrarily decide that a CE candidate does not fulfil the requirements of swearing allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR and upholding the Basic Law. So I have to say that those sort of worries are exaggerated,” she said.

Lam also defended Beijing’s decision to let national security police officers run background checks on would-be Legco election candidates, saying they will just gather and present facts. She said such duties were already stipulated in the national security law.

“It is only right [to use the police] because you need resources. You need to build up that expertise how to find the facts. It is not something that you and I can do,” she said.

Lam said that in April, the government will table to Legco the legal changes needed for the electoral system overhaul, adding that she hopes the amendments will be passed by the end of May.

She said a new round of voter registration will then be carried out in June, before the CE election committee polls take place in September. The next Legco elections are now slated for December.