Published: 11:55, October 17, 2023 | Updated: 11:59, October 17, 2023
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168 more to vie for seats in District Councils
By Atlas Shao in Hong Kong

Representatives of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong display banners promoting their policy ideas as they announce candidates for the District Council Ordinary Election on Oct 16, 2023. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)

Two prominent political parties in Hong Kong — the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), and the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions (FTU) — said they will field 122 and 46 candidates respectively in the upcoming 2023 District Council elections. 

Slated for Dec 10, the elections will be the first district-level polls after the city improved its electoral system in 2021. The nomination period of the elections started Tuesday and will end on Oct 30. The new councilors will assume office on Jan 1.

The DAB, Hong Kong’s largest political party, said a quarter of its 122 candidates are first-time contenders. With “building a better society” as its election slogan, the party will field 44 members in all 44 District Council geographical constituencies (DCGCs), and 78 in District Committees constituencies (DCCs).

DAB Chairman Gary Chan Hak-kan said the average age of the 44 DCGC participants is 37.9, and 97 percent have a higher-education degree. As for the 78 DCC candidates, the average age is 40.9, and 92 percent have a higher-education degree. The party has candidates as young as 27 in both constituencies.

Chan said that the party selected the most suitable candidates — those who are most representative and capable of serving the public. He said he hopes that residents can choose those who can help them most.

He emphasized that all these candidates love the country and need to win nominations through their own efforts.

The number of candidates fielded by the DAB is over 30 percent less than the previous term.

As for the appointed District Council members, Chan said that he will nominate suitable professionals to the government without overlapping with candidates running in DCGCs and DCCs.

Among the 46 FTU candidates running in the elections, 25 will join the race for a seat of a DCGC, and 21 for seats of a DCC. The average age of the candidates is 38, and the youngest is 25. Ninety-one percent of the candidates have a higher education degree, and one candidate holds a doctoral degree. FTU Chairman Kingsley Wong Kwok said that the team is energetic and young, and most of them participated in the 2019 District Council elections.

Party President Stanley Ng Chau-pei said that FTU will run with the utmost sincerity and responsibility. He admitted that the competition is fierce, but it will not stop the party’s determination to achieve success.

The new term District Councils will comprise 470 members, including 179 appointed members to be designated by the chief executive; 176 to be elected by the District Committees constituencies; 88 to be chosen by electors in various District Council geographical constituencies; and 27 chairs of Rural Committees of the respective districts.

Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu on Monday encouraged talented residents who love the country and Hong Kong, and who are willing to serve the community, to seek nomination and register as candidates.

He urged all voters to participate in the elections on Dec 10, and elect a new generation of district councilors who are “dedicated to serving the community, and can effectively represent the views of their districts”.

Lee said that he and his team will spare no effort preparing for the elections, ensuring that they are conducted in a fair, just, and honest manner. 

Erick Tsang Kwok-wai, secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, said that the government had started the election campaign early in September. The authority will organize over 100 events, including television programs and public billboards, to call for wide participation in the elections and increase residents’ understanding of the elections and their options.

Tsang said that the previous District Councils were overly politicized and deviated from their original purpose. He hoped that the new-term councils will focus on caring for people’s livelihoods and ensure strong leadership by patriots.