|Amendment Bill gives legal basis for financial assistance scheme for DC election candidates
The Government has proposed to amend the District Councils Ordinance to provide a legal basis for a financial assistance scheme for District Council (DC) election candidates.
The District Councils (Amendment) Bill 2006 will be gazetted tomorrow (December 8) for introduction into the Legislative Council (Legco) on December 20.
A spokesman for the Constitutional Affairs Bureau today (December 7) said, "Financial assistance for election candidates was first introduced in the 2004 LegCo election. As an initiative to encourage more public-spirited candidates to participate in public elections and to cultivate an environment to facilitate the development of political talents in Hong Kong, we propose to extend the financial assistance scheme to DC election candidates."
"We consulted the public on the proposed financial assistance scheme for DC election candidates during the public consultation on the Review on the Role, Functions and Composition of DCs (DC Review) held between April and July this year. There was broad support for the proposal," he said.
Under the Bill, the amount of financial assistance payable to a DC election candidate in a contested constituency is $10 per vote, capped by 50% of the declared election expenses of the candidate. In respect of a candidate in an uncontested constituency, the amount of financial assistance payable is the amount obtained by multiplying 50% of the number of registered electors for the constituency by $10, capped by 50% of the declared election expenses of the candidate.
The formula for calculating the amount of financial assistance payable to a DC election candidate is basically the same as the one adopted in the existing scheme for Legco election candidates, except that the amount of financial assistance is not capped by the difference between the election expenses and election donations of a candidate.
"Taking into account the views and feedback received during earlier consultation with the Legco Panel on Constitutional Affairs and the public, in calculating the amount of financial assistance a candidate may receive, any election donations the candidate may have received will not be taken into account. Similar changes will be made to the financial assistance scheme for Legco election candidates," the spokesman said.
After the passage of the Bill, the Electoral Affairs Commission will make regulations under the Electoral Affairs Commission Ordinance to set out the detailed operational procedures of the scheme, which will be implemented from the 2007 DC election onwards.
Ends/Thursday, December 7, 2006