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Electoral Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2012

     The Government announced today (February 1) that the Electoral Legislation (Miscellaneous Amendments) Bill 2012 would be introduced into the Legislative Council (LegCo) on February 8.

     "The Bill amends various pieces of legislation to introduce amendments to the regulatory regime of election advertisements (EAs); to introduce amendments relating to organisations which are constituents of several functional constituencies (FCs) of the LegCo or subsectors of the Election Committee (EC); to improve the electoral procedures for various elections; to provide for the counting arrangements for the District Council (second) functional constituency (DC (second) FC); to make technical amendments to the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance (ECICO); and to make related and incidental amendments," a Government spokesman said.

     Under the proposed arrangements for EAs, a candidate can post his EAs onto a central portal maintained by the Registration and Electoral Office or an election website maintained by him for public inspection within one working day after the publication of the EAs. This replaces the existing arrangements which require a candidate to make a declaration and submission of EAs to the Returning Officer before publishing the EAs.

     In addition, the proposal simplifies the arrangements for handling the consent of support in EAs. Under the proposed arrangements, a candidate or a person is not required to obtain prior written consent from those who provide support in the EAs if the candidate or person has neither requested or directed nor authorised any other person to request or direct the inclusion of such support in EAs.

     "This proposed arrangement seeks to protect a candidate or person from being inadvertently caught under section 27 of the ECICO in circumstances under which it is difficult for him to obtain prior written consent from third parties indicating support out of their own volition," the spokesman said.

     To prepare for the coming LegCo election in September 2012 and to fine-tune electoral procedures, the Bill contains amendments to the relevant Electoral Affairs Commission regulations to provide for the counting arrangements for the DC (second) FC and to improve the electoral procedures for various elections.

     In addition, the Bill contains some technical amendments to other FCs. They include updating the names of certain bodies or members of the bodies which are registered, or are eligible to be registered, as electors, or deleting those organisations that have ceased operation. The technical amendments also apply to the bodies and organisations concerned in the EC subsectors with the same name as the corresponding FCs.

     "We hope that LegCo can pass the Bill as soon as possible so that the revised electoral arrangements can be implemented in the 2012 LegCo election in September," the spokesman said.

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

Ends/Wednesday, February 1, 2012