Home » Hong Kong legislature unanimously passes overhaul of district council elections

Hong Kong legislature unanimously passes overhaul of district council elections

by Derek Andrews
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The Legislative Council of the Hong Kong unanimously voted to help a bill that overhauls town’s district councils on Thursday, which is able to dramatically cut back the variety of immediately elected seats on district councils. Underneath a 2021 change to Hong Kong’s election regulation, the district councils served as one of many final methods for Hong Kongers to immediately have their voices heard in elections.

In line with the report printed by the 15-member Payments Committee in control of drafting the amended invoice, the brand new invoice goals to revive the operate of district councils to offering providers moderately than being organs of political energy. The invoice additionally goals to strengthen the district governance construction. The precise affect of the invoice, nevertheless, reduces the quantity of seats immediately elected by the general public from about 90 % to solely 20 %. The opposite 80 % might be both appointed (40 %) or elected within the District Committees Constituency election (40 %). Additionally, below the amended invoice, the full variety of members in district councils might be barely lowered from 479 to 470.

The invoice additionally introduces a brand new eligibility overview mechanism, which is able to be certain that those that are elected to the district council seats are “patriots administering Hong Kong.”

In a press release, a authorities spokesperson mentioned the modification is supposed to “put an finish to the chaos of the sixth-term [district councils] and restore [district councils] to the appropriate monitor.” The spokesperson additional commented that the “effectivity of district governance might be enhanced” and Hong Kongers could have a “larger sense of well-being.” The spokesperson went on to say:

The proposals strictly adhere to the three guiding rules for bettering district governance, specifically: (1) in accordance prime precedence to nationwide safety; (2) absolutely implementing the precept of ‘patriots administering Hong Kong’; and (3) absolutely practising executive-led governance.

In response to the modification, the EU printed a statement accusing the reform of violating the dedication to democratic illustration set out within the Hong Kong Basic Law and additional undermining the “one nation, two techniques” precept. The EU additionally urged the Chinese language and Hong Kong governments to ascertain common suffrage and protect Hong Kong’s excessive diploma of autonomy.

The invoice’s passage comes amid an rising crackdown on pro-democracy efforts in Hong Kong. Simply this week, Hong Kong authorities charged eight individuals with separatism below the identical regulation and arrested another five people for suspected contravention. In response to the continuing crackdown, the US issued a brand new travel advisory for his or her residents, advising towards touring to China, Hong Kong or Macau resulting from “arbitrary enforcement of native legal guidelines…and the danger of wrongful detentions.”

The modification invoice will come into impact on July 10.

Source / Picture: jurist.org

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