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SCA: Ample resources set aside

The Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, today (November 3) said that whilst the Constitutional Affairs Bureau had to follow the guideline of reducing the 2003/04 expenditure by 1.8 per cent, sufficient resources would be set aside to ensure that the 2003 District Council (DC) Elections were conducted smoothly.

Mr Lam told reporters about this during his visit to the Kowloon City DC Kai Tak Constituency By-election's polling station at Emmanuel Primary School Kowloon.

Mr Lam said, "Elections can create employment. Our preliminary plan is to create about 500 temporary posts with duration ranging from two to 11 months to help out with preparatory work for the 2003 DC Elections.

"Such work includes handling application for voter registration and assigning registered voters to different constituencies."

On the By-election, Mr Lam called on registered voters to cast their votes.

"The competition among candidates of the By-election is very keen. Every vote counts. I hope voters will exercise their civic rights and participate actively in the By-election," he said.

Mr Lam said that whilst the By-election involved only 6,000 voters, various political parties had set their eyes on it and were trying very hard to vie for the seat.

"There are a total of five candidates representing various political parties and one independent candidate. This is a record. We have gone through the records of the 1999 DC Elections. At that time, the highest number of candidates in any one constituency was only five."

He said, "This reflects that there is a growing level of awareness and inclination on the part of political parties and political groups to take part in elections.

"The By-election has also provided political parties with an opportunity to test their strength and level of support within the community, before the 2003 DC Elections," he added.

Mr Lam said that the active participation of candidates from different political parties would not only widen the choices for voters, but would also help promote constitutional development.

End/Sunday, November 3, 2002.