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Five more elected seats for 2007 District Council Elections

The Government presented the District Councils Ordinance (Amendment of Schedule 3) Order 2006 to the Legislative Council (LegCo) today (May 17) to implement the proposed addition of two elected seats on Islands District Council (DC) and three elected seats on Sai Kung DC.

A spokesman for the Constitutional Affairs Bureau said that if the Order was approved by LegCo, the number of elected seats on Islands DC would increase to 10 from the next DC term, and the number of elected seats on Sai Kung DC would increase to 23.

"The addition of seats is to cater for the population growth in the Islands and Sai Kung districts between the last DC election in 2003 and the coming one in 2007.

"According to the latest figures from the Working Group on Population Distribution Projections led by the Planning Department, the population growth of Islands and Sai Kung during the above period will be 31% and 10.3% respectively," he said.

The spokesman said that the population growth in the two districts was mainly due to the development of the Tung Chung and Tseung Kwan O new towns.

If additional seats were not provided, the population-to-seat ratio in the urban areas of Tung Chung and Tseung Kwan O would reach 37,900 and 22,600 respectively in 2007, about 117% and 29% higher than the territory-wide average of 17,500. According to the Electoral Affairs Commission Ordinance, the population of DC constituency areas should not deviate from the average by more than 25%.

"The Government has consulted the LegCo Panel on Constitutional Affairs and the DCs concerned on the proposed addition of seats. They are supportive of the proposal," he said.

The number of elected seats on each DC is stipulated in Schedule 3 to the District Councils Ordinance. According to Section 8 of the Ordinance, the Chief Executive in Council may, subject to LegCo approval, amend the Schedule by order published in the Government Gazette in order to adjust the number of seats.

Ends/Wednesday, May 17, 2006