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Wednesday, July 15, 2020, 00:47
HK elections have no ‘primaries’: Watchdog
By Gu Mengyan
Wednesday, July 15, 2020, 00:47 By Gu Mengyan

There are no such things as “primaries” for the upcoming Legislative Council election or any other public elections in Hong Kong, the city’s election watchdog stressed on Tuesday.

The election is a serious matter and public elections must always be held in an open, fair and honest manner, an Electoral Affairs Commission spokesman said in a statement. These comments were made two days after the opposition camp wrapped up their “primaries” for the Legislative Council election slated for Sept 6.

Section 23 of the ordinance stipulates that ... corrupt conduct occurs if a person encourages another person to stand (or not to stand) as a candidate through use of bribery, force, duress or deception

the Electoral Affairs Commission

The watchdog said that according to the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance, eligible candidates, no matter whether they have submitted their nominations to run for the LegCo election, they still have to submit all their election expenses to the authorities.

The spokesman emphasized that Section 23 of the ordinance stipulates that only candidates and authorized election expense agents can incur election expenses, otherwise illegal conduct has occurred.

According to the same ordinance, corrupt conduct occurs if a person encourages another person to stand (or not to stand) as a candidate through use of bribery, force, duress or deception. The person who commits an offense is liable to a fine of HK$500,000 ($64,500) and to imprisonment for seven years upon conviction.

The “primary polls” were organized by opposition candidates in a bid to select popular candidates who are more likely to secure a seat in the new legislature.

The nomination period for the LegCo election will start on Saturday and last until the end of July.

According to Section 42 of the Legislative Council Ordinance, a candidate who has submitted a nomination form may withdraw his or her candidacy only before the end of the nomination period. Under the law, candidates are not allowed to withdraw their candidatures after the end of the nomination period and there is no “abandonment of election” mechanism.

Moreover, under Article 29 of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, a person who colludes with external forces to rig or undermine an election in Hong Kong, which is likely to cause serious consequences, shall be guilty of an offense that carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

The EAC appealed to members of the public to note the relevant provisions when organizing and participating in election-related activities.

jefferygu@chinadailyhk.com

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