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LCQ8: Free advice on prospective candidates' eligibility of nomination

Following is a question by Hon James To Kun-sun and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (March 3):


Prior to the Legislative Council elections held in 2000, the Government had announced that free legal advice would be made available to prospective candidates to ascertain whether they were qualified for being nominated as candidates, and details of applications for such service were also provided. Although the authorities have announced that the 2004 Legislative Council elections will be held on September 12 this year, they have not yet advised whether the above free legal advice service will be available for this year's Legislative Council elections. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council whether it will provide the above service; if it will, when the service will be provided and the details on applications for the service; if not, the reasons for that?


Madam President,

Following arrangements similar to those for the 2000 Legislative Council ("LegCo") general election, the Electoral Affairs Commission ("EAC") will appoint Nominations Advisory Committees ("NACs") in accordance with the Electoral Affairs Commission (Nominations Advisory Committees (LegCo) ) Regulation to provide, upon request, free advice to prospective candidates on their eligibility for nomination in the 2004 LegCo election. The NACs will provide services to prospective candidates starting from March 19.

A prospective candidate may:

(a) make only one application in respect of the geographical constituency election; and

(b) make only one application in respect of a particular functional constituency election, but may apply for advice in respect of more than one functional constituency.

A prospective candidate in need of the service should make his application by filling in the specified application form and send it to the Chief Electoral Officer who will pass the application to a NAC for its consideration. Upon receipt of the application, the NAC will give advice to the applicant as soon as possible. The deadline for application is the day before the commencement of the nomination period. The NAC will reply to all applications no later than the second working day after the deadline for application.

The EAC will publish a notice in the Gazette on March 19 to announce the appointment of the NACs and the relevant operational arrangements.

Ends/Wednesday, March 3, 2004