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Government's response to "Letter to Hong Kong"

     In response to media enquiries on Legislative Councillor Albert Chan's remarks in Radio Television Hong Kong's "Letter to Hong Kong" broadcast earlier today (May 29), a spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau said:

     "The Government has proposed that starting from the fifth term Legislative Council (LegCo) on October 1, 2012, a vacancy arising mid-term in the geographical constituencies or the newly established District Council (second) functional constituency seats will be filled by the first candidate who has not yet been elected in the list with the largest number of remainder votes in the preceding general election.

     "These constituencies adopt the proportional representation list voting system. The proposed replacement mechanism is consistent with the proportional representation electoral system and reflects the overall will of the electors expressed through the general election. It also facilitates the speedy replacement of any vacant LegCo seat in order to maintain the integrity and operation of the LegCo.

     "In 2010, five LegCo Members resigned, leading to a by-election. It was considered by members of the public and some political parties as unnecessary, and that public money totalling $126 million spent on the by-election could have been deployed for other more productive purposes. The proposed replacement mechanism could avoid the need to consume substantial public resources again to conduct by-elections due to resignation of Members.

     "According to our understanding, in some countries where the proportional representation list voting system is practised, by-elections are not used to return candidates to fill vacant seats arising mid-term. Instead, reference to the election result of the preceding general election will form the basis of returning a candidate to fill a vacancy.

     "The Government will make publicity arrangements to make it clear to the public and electors that henceforth, in every general election of the LegCo, every vote cast by electors will have two effects. Firstly, they will elect Legislative Councillors into the Council to serve the public. Secondly, the votes would also determine the replacement candidate in case a vacancy arises mid-term. The more votes they cast for a particular candidate list, the higher the possibility of that candidate list being able to field a candidate as a replacement Legislative Councillor."

Ends/Sunday, May 29, 2011