New Election Committee formed

A new Election Committee, which will be tasked with picking the next Chief Executive and a large number of the SAR’s new lawmakers was formed on Monday, in the first vote since Beijing revamped Hong Kong’s electoral system.

Most candidates and voters described the body, which has 1,500 seats, as representative, with newly elected members saying they had campaigned on the strength of their policies instead of their political views.

Some of the winners celebrated their victory by chanting slogans on stage – saying they’ll implement the principle of patriots administering Hong Kong.

All candidates had passed a vetting process that ensured only those deemed to be patriotic can hold public office.

Voting started on Sunday and the turnout was nearly 90 percent – with 4,380 eligible voters casting ballots in 13 competitive subsectors.

In some of them, such as legal and technology & innovation, all eligible voters cast their ballots.

Executive councillor Ronny Tong was elected from the legal subsector.

He said the voter base might have been a lot smaller than in the last election in 2016 – but his sector’s 100 percent turnout proved that the system was representative.

“Both the Bar Association and the Law Society have cast their votes…[their participation] demonstrates they’re exercising the voting rights on behalf of all members of the profession,” Tong said.

Social welfare was the most competitive subsector, with former Democratic Party member, Tik Chi-yuen, who is now leader of the Third Side party, becoming one of the winners after he drew lots with two other candidates who received the same number of votes.

Tik said voters had to set aside political views in this poll.

“This time it’s not a political competition, the candidates compare their welfare agendas and proposals,” he said.

Sai Kung district council chairman Francis Chau – who ran as an unaffiliated candidate – was also in the race for social welfare but lost.

“I think we should use every opportunity to discuss all the election platforms that the Hong Kong people want us to pursue. Every opportunity is important,” Chau said.

One of the voters, Chua Hoi-wai, from the Council of Social Service, said there were a variety of candidates to choose from in the social welfare polls. But another voter, Francis Lun from the financial services sub-sector, said with the number of voters slashed from nearly a quarter of a million to less than 8,000, he thinks this was “a small-circle election”.

The elected seats accounted for around a quarter of the 1,500-strong Election Committee.

The rest of the spots had already been decided before polling day – either because they were uncontested, appointed, or ex-officio positions.