Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu and his wife Janet Lee Lam Lai-sim cast their votes in the 2023 District Council Ordinary Election at the Raimondi College, Hong Kong on Dec 10, 2023 (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG – Sunday’s District Council Ordinary Election is the last jigsaw in the full implementation of the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong”, and the voting is pertinent to every resident in the city, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said on Sunday morning.
Highlighting the importance of the polls, he said district councils are non-governmental organizations made up of patriots who’ll not betray the interests of the country, the city and the community.
Lee spoke after casting his ballot at the Raimondi College polling station in Central, Hong Kong Island.
Total 399 candidates are vying for 176 seats in the District Committee constituencies, and 88 seats in the geographical constituencies. The rest of the 470 district council seats will be filled by 179 appointed members and 27 ex-officio members. They will hold office for four years from Jan 1, 2024.
Lee said the district council reforms will have a far-reaching impact on every local resident, as well as the city’s 18 districts.
He recalled that Hong Kong people still remember vividly the painful experience and harm done to the city during the social unrest in 2019, and the reforms will ensure that what had happened will not recur. The new district councils will be unlike those in the past, and will mark the start of a new chapter, with the councils truly serving the community, said Lee.
The CE expressed his hope that the new district councilors will truthfully reflect residents’ voices to the government
With governance at the district level improved, the to-be-elected district councilors will be aligned with the interests of both the nation and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and priority will be given to the districts’ welfare, he said.
The CE emphasized that this year’s DC polls represent the final piece jigsaw in the full implementation of the principle of “patriots governing Hong Kong”.
He urged the public to value their votes and those who’ll serve them best, pointing out that the elections are closely related to every aspect of residents’ daily lives, such as transportation, infrastructure, and living conditions.
He expressed his hope that the new district councilors will truthfully reflect residents’ voices to the government.
The CE expressed confidence that the new DC members will be competent, as a performance monitoring system will be introduced to supervise those who fail to meet the public’s expectations.
He also revealed his guiding principles for choosing preferred candidates, including their aspirations, platforms, background, experience, ability and past performance in serving the community, as well as the kind of services that voters would like to get.
He expressed his appreciation for the efforts of more than 30,000 civil servants deployed across the 600 polling stations to ensure that the elections are conducted in a fair, orderly, and efficient manner. He noted that the voting process was fast and smooth, and the staff members at the polling station are very professional and passionate.
Chief Secretary for Administration Eric Chan Kwok-ki and members of his family voted at a polling station in Sha Tin.
Praising the clear and smooth process of voting, Chan said district councils are important as an advisory body as they enable the government to better assess residents’ needs and formulate finer policies. He again urged electors to vote for a better Hong Kong.
IN PICTURES: Election day
He said the election had kicked off with a positive mood and called for all voters to actively exercise their rights.
Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po and his wife voted at a balloting booth in the Southern District.
All Hong Kong people are concerned about the development of their own communities, with hopes to express their opinions and suggestions on district affairs, small or large, such as road planning, regional facilities or infrastructure that may have a significant impact on their lives, said Chan.
Urging voters to cast their ballots to build a better community, he said the new district councils will return to their vested roles – focusing on regional issues and conveying residents’ voices on district affairs to the SAR government, which can make the work of the government more responsive to the people’s needs.
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