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Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 2011 providing for arrangements for filling vacancies in the Legislative Council

     The Government today (May 31) announced that the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 2011 (the Bill) would be introduced into the Legislative Council (LegCo) on June 8, 2011.

     A Government spokesman said, "The Bill provides for the filling of any vacancy in the membership of the LegCo in any geographical constituency (GC) or District Council (second) functional constituency (DC (second) FC) by a replacement mechanism in certain circumstances. A vacancy arising mid-term in the GCs or the newly established DC (second) FC seats will be filled by reference to the election result of the preceding general election. The first candidate who has not yet been elected in the list with the largest number of remainder votes in the preceding general election will be returned."

     The replacement arrangement will apply to situations (including resignation, death, disqualification of Members, etc) specified under section 15 of the Legislative Council Ordinance and Article 79 of the Basic Law under which a vacancy of the LegCo arises.

     The replacement arrangement does not apply to traditional FCs. A vacancy arising mid-term in the traditional FCs will be filled by a by-election.

     The Government spokesman added, "The Bill provides for the operation of the proposed mechanism. After a general election, the Returning Officer will publish in the Gazette a notice setting out a list of candidates of the LegCo GCs and the DC (second) FC who are eligible to fill the vacancy in a descending order determined by the number of remaining votes secured by the list of candidates in the general election."

     "The first candidate who has not yet been elected in the list with the largest number of remainder votes will fill a vacancy of the LegCo arising mid-term. If the candidate concerned has died, or is now disqualified or does not wish to serve, the first unelected candidate on the list with the second largest number of remainder votes will fill the vacancy. Where necessary, other candidates on the gazetted list can be approached in sequence to fill the vacancy."

     "If two or more lists in a constituency get the same vote in the general election, the drawing of lots shall be done right after counting so that the order of precedence can be determined. If the gazetted list of candidates has been exhausted, the Electoral Affairs Commission will hold a by-election to fill the vacancy."

     If the Bill is passed by the LegCo, the proposed replacement mechanism will be implemented commencing from the fifth term of the LegCo in October 2012. Our plan is to introduce the Bill into the LegCo for the first and second readings on June 8, 2011.

     The Bill and details of the proposals will be available at the LegCo's webpage.

Ends/Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SCMA speaks to the media in Beijing