|LC: Amending Electoral Affairs Commission (Financial Assistance for Legislative Council Elections) (Application and Payment Procedure) Regulation
Following is the speech by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, on the motion to amend the Electoral Affairs Commission (Financial Assistance for Legislative Council Elections)(Application and Payment Procedure) Regulation at the Legislative Council today (February 25) (Translation):
I move that the Electoral Affairs Commission (Financial Assistance for Legislative Council Elections) (Application and Payment Procedure) Regulation be amended as set out in the agenda.
This Regulation was made by the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC). Its purpose is to set out detailed procedures for implementing the financial assistance scheme ("the scheme") for candidates and lists of candidates standing in the Legislative Council ("LegCo") elections, in accordance with the new Part VIA of the LegCo (Amendment) Ordinance 2003. Under the Ordinance, candidates or lists of candidates who get elected or who have received 5% of valid votes or more in the LegCo elections will be given financial assistance to offset part of their election expenses.
The aim of this scheme is to encourage more public-spirited persons to participate in the LegCo elections. Financial assistance will be provided to candidates in the spirit that their election expenses are to be jointly borne by the Government and candidates.
The Regulation was laid on the table of LegCo on January 7, 2004, and was subsequently scrutinized by the Subcommittee. The Subcommittee has now completed the task of scrutiny.
At the Subcommittee meeting on January 30, we proposed to amend sections 4, 7 and 10 of the Regulation to allow election agents to submit claim forms, notices of withdrawal and notices of variation on behalf of candidates or lists of candidates. The purpose is to provide candidates with more convenience and flexibility in the application process. When scrutinizing the Regulation, the Subcommittee proposed that, apart from election agents, these application documents may also be submitted by any person representing the candidates or lists of candidates.
Furthermore, although the time limit for submitting the claim form has already been clearly specified in the new Part VIA of the LegCo (Amendment) Ordinance 2003, the Subcommittee considered that the time limit should also be specified in this Regulation for the public's easy reference.
The Administration and the EAC agreed to the above two suggestions made by the Subcommittee. Amendments to the relevant provisions are now proposed.
When scrutinizing the Regulation, the Subcommittee made a number of suggestions regarding the Scheme. As this is a new scheme, we consider that it would be more appropriate to study the need to revise its details and arrangements after its implementation in this year's LegCo elections. Comments put forward by the Subcommittee will be carefully considered at the time.
All the proposed amendments set out in the agenda have been endorsed by the Subcommittee. I would like to sincerely thank the Hon Hui Cheung-ching, the Subcommittee Chairman, and other Members of the Subcommittee for their valuable comments made during the scrutiny process.
Thank you, Madam President.
Ends/Wednesday, February 25, 2004