The Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, moved motions under the Interpretation and General Clause Ordinance, to amend five Amendment Regulations under the Electoral Affairs Commission Ordinance today (July 6). Following is the speech (English translation) by Mr Lam on the five resolutions:
I move that the first motion moved by me be passed.
President, as you said that this Council will have a joint debate, my speech will cover all the five motions.
I move that five Amendment Regulations be amended as set out on the agenda. These Amendment Regulations are the Electoral Affairs Commission (Electoral Procedure) (Legislative Council) (Amendment) Regulation 2011, Electoral Affairs Commission (Electoral Procedure) (District Councils) (Amendment) Regulation 2011, Electoral Affairs Commission (Electoral Procedure) (Election Committee) (Amendment) Regulation 2011, Electoral Procedure (Chief Executive Election) (Amendment) Regulation 2011 and Particulars Relating to Candidates on Ballot Papers (Legislative Council and District Councils) (Amendment) Regulation 2011.
To prepare for the District Council (DC) Election, the Election Committee Subsector (ECSS) Elections, the Chief Executive (CE) Election and the Legislative Council (LegCo) Election to be held between November this year and September next year, the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) tabled at LegCo nine Amendment Regulations concerning electoral arrangements on May 18, 2011. These Amendment Regulations are related to technical amendments. Apart from consequential amendments to be made according to the amended provisions in the CE Election Ordinance and the LegCo Ordinance, these Amendment Regulations seek to align and improve some electoral procedures, and to refine the voting arrangements for imprisoned persons.
The LegCo subsequently set up a Subcommittee to scrutinise the nine Amendment Regulations. After four meetings, the Subcommittee has completed the scrutiny work. I hereby wish to express my gratitude to Hon Ip Kwok-him, Chairman of the Subcommittee, and other members for their effort in completing the exercise.
During the scrutiny of the Amendment Regulations, some members suggested extending, for DC election years, the annual cut-off date for registering particulars relating to candidates on ballot papers, similar to the practice of voter registration. Having considered this suggestion carefully, we propose to amend the annual cut-off date for filing applications for registering the particulars relating to candidates on ballot papers to June 15 for the DC election years. By the time the Amendment Regulations come into effect on July 8, 2011, it will have passed the amended annual cut-off date for the 2011 registration cycle. Therefore, we propose to provide a transitional arrangement for 2011, so that EAC will process those applications received on or before July 15, 2011 within the current registration cycle. For this, we need to amend the Particulars Relating to Candidates on Ballot Papers (Legislative Council and District Councils) (Amendment) Regulation 2011.
Another more important amendment is about the means of submission of copies of electronic election advertisements. At present, candidates must submit to the Returning Officer (RO) copies of all election advertisements. To facilitate candidates to conduct electioneering activities, EAC has proposed that for electronic election advertisements, candidates are allowed to make the submission to the RO electronically. Some members considered that candidates should be provided with the flexibility to submit copies of electronic election advertisements either by electronic means or in hardcopies as the situation requires. We need to amend the provisions in four Amendment Regulations, so as to apply this amended arrangement to the LegCo, DC, CE and ECSS elections.
Other amendments are technical in nature, with a view to improving the clarity of the provisions. The detailed amendments are set out on the agenda.
The Subcommittee supports the amendments I move. I hereby wish to thank Hon Ip Kwok-him, Chairman of the Subcommittee, and other members for the invaluable views expressed during the process of scrutiny of the Amendment Regulations. Thank you, President.
Ends/Wednesday, July 6, 2011