Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021
The National People's Congress (NPC) on 11 March 2021 passed the Decision on Improving the Electoral System of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (the Decision) and authorised the Standing Committee of the NPC (NPCSC) to amend the Annex I to the Basic Law on Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Annex II to the Basic Law on Method for the Formation of the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and its Voting Procedures. The NPCSC on 30 March adopted the amended Annex I and Annex II to the Basic Law.
The HKSAR Government take forward the amendment exercise of local electoral legislation in accordance with the newly amended Annexes I and II to the Basic Law, so as to improve the electoral system of the HKSAR
The Government introduced the Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021 into the Legislative Council (LegCo) on 14 April. The LegCo passed the Bill on 27 May.
(Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021)
(Legislative Council Brief issued by Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau)
(Legislative Council Brief Annexes B, C, D, E, F, G, I & J issued by Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau)
(Legislative Council Brief Annex H - Delineation of Geographical Constituencies of the Seventh Term of the Legislative Council issued by Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau)
Bills Committee on Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021 - Government's Proposed Committee Stage Amendments CB(4)912/20-21(01)
Bills Committee on Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021 - Government's Proposed Committee Stage Amendments CB(4)928/20-21(01)
Legislative Council Meeting of 26 May, 2021 - Proposed amendments to Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021 CB(3) 565/20-21
Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Ordinance 2021 published in the Gazette on 31 May, 2021
Highlights of the Bill
The proposed dates of the three important elections to be held are as follows:
- Election Committee Subsector Elections: 19 September 2021 (To be gazetted separately)
- LegCo General Election: 19 December 2021
- Chief Executive Election: 27 March 2022 (To be gazetted separately)
Reconstitution of the Election Committee (EC), Determination of the Methods for Returning EC Members, the Eligibility of Voters and Candidates
Pursuant to the Decision, the Election Committee should be broadly representative, suited to the HKSAR's actual situation, and representative of the overall interests of its society; it should also be expanded from 1,200 members from four sectors to 1,500 members from five sectors.
Three Methods for Returning the EC Members
- Ex-officio Members;
- Nomination by eligible bodies of specific subsectors; and
- Election by eligible corporate or individual voters of the subsectors.
(Please refer to the "Method for the Constitution of the Election Committee" page for details)
Introduction of the Oath-taking Requirement
- The registration form submitted by an ex-officio member and a nominee (for the subsectors which members are returned by nomination) / a candidate (for the subsectors which members are returned by election) is not valid unless it contains a declaration to the effect that the person will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
- After the name of the member-elect is included in an Election Committee interim register, the member-elect must sign the written Election Committee Oath, to the effect that the person will uphold the Basic Law and bear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China.
- A mechanism to deal with situations where an EC Member breaches an oath is introduced.
Determination of the Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive and related issues
Candidates for the office of the Chief Executive shall be nominated jointly by not less than 188 Members of the Election Committee, among whom the number of members of each sector should not be less than 15. Each Member of the Election Committee may only nominate one candidate. The Chief Executive shall be elected by the Election Committee by secret ballot on a one-person-one-vote basis. The Chief Executive-elect shall obtain over 750 votes in the poll, and be appointed by the Central People's Government.
(Please refer to the "Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive" page for details)
Updating the Composition and Method for Formation of the LegCo, Determination of the Eligibility of Voters
Pursuant to the amended Annex II to Basic Law, the LegCo shall be composed of 90 members as follows:
- 40 Members returned by the Election Committee
- 30 Members returned by functional constituencies
- 20 Members returned by geographical constituencies through direct elections
(Please refer to the "Method for the Formation of the Legislative Council" page for details)
Major changes in the 28 Functional Constituencies
Delineation of Geographical Constituencies
The territories of Hong Kong will be divided into 10 constituencies, increasing from the current 5 constituencies. Press here to view the delineation of Geographical Constituencies.
Overview of Candidature, Nomination and Voting Arrangements
||Who can run in the election?
|Nominations from EC / relevant FC or GC
||Nominations from EC
|Election Committee Constituency
|All Registered Electors aged 21 or above (need not be EC Members) who have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for 3 years immediately preceding the nomination
||2-4 from each of the 5 sectors
||1500 EC Members
- Block Vote (each EC member must select 40 candidates)
- The 40 candidates who obtain the greatest number of votes shall be returned in the election.
|Registered Electors aged 21 or above who have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for 3 years immediately preceding the nomination
Registered voters of the concerned FC or has a substantial connection with that FC
||2-4 from each of the 5 sectors
||Eligible individual and corporate electors*
- Except the Labour FC shall continue to return 3 Members, all other constituencies shall return one member each
|All Registered Electors aged 21 or above who have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for 3 years immediately preceding the nomination
||2-4 from each of the 5 sectors
||All registered electors
- Double Seats and Single Vote (each constituency returns 2 members, and each voter can vote for 1 candidate)
- The two candidates who obtain the greatest number of votes shall be returned in the election.
*Unless specified in the electoral law, an association or enterprise may become a corporate elector for an FC only if it has been operating for not less than three years after acquiring relevant qualifications for that FC.
Special Arrangements of Voter Registration
Due to the major changes in the composition of Subsectors and Functional Constituencies, we need to make special arrangements to allow newly eligible and affected electors to re-process their voter registration matters. We will set a special registration deadline on 5 July 2021.
The Election Committee
- Ex-officio Members
All individuals eligible to Ex-officio Members must submit a registration form on or before 5 July.
- Members returned by nomination by eligible bodies
No registration is needed for eligible bodies which will nominate the candidates for the Election Committee during the nomination period.
Persons who are eligible to be nominated as Election Committee members in Accountancy, Chinese Medicine, Legal and Technology and Innovation subsectors must submit applications to register as geographical constituency electors by 5 July
- Bodies or individual voters eligible for polling
All eligible voters must do the registration on or before 5 July regardless of their current registration status.
- Functional Constituencies
Electors affected by a change in sectors and electorates must re-register on or before 5 July.
- Geographical Constituencies
If geographical constituency electors would like to vote this year, they must do the registration on or before 2 May.
(The special registration deadline is not applicable to geographical constituency electors)
(Please refer to the "Registration Arrangements for Voters and Ex-officio Members" page for details)
Introduction of the requirement of operating for 3 years for a body
With a view to ensuring more effectively that a body has a substantial and bona fide connection with its subsector or functional constituency as well as preventing vote-rigging behaviour, an association or enterprise may become a corporate voter for a subsector or functional constituency only if it has been operating for not less than 3 years after acquiring relevant qualifications for that sector, unless specified in the electoral law.
Enhancement Measures in Electoral Arrangement
- Amend the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance
In order to take measures in accordance with the law to regulate acts that manipulate or sabotage elections, the Bill recommends that:
- Any person incites voters not to vote, to cast blank or invalid votes by way of public activity during an election period commits an illegal conduct.
- Any person who wilfully obstructs and prevents another person from voting at an election commits a corrupt conduct.
- Electronic poll register (EPR)
- To enhance efficiency and accuracy in the ballot paper issuance process, the Bill recommends the use of EPR in Election Committee Subsector and LegCo elections in 2021
- Electors to provide identity document to polling staff for identity verification by electronic device and ballot papers issuance. Paper recording process is no longer necessary
- Inspection and compilation of the registers of electors
To strike a balance between ensuring a transparent mechanism for inspecting the registers of electors and protecting personal particulars of electors from being misused for malicious purpose via inspection, enhancement measures will be introduced for inspection and compilation of the registers of electors:
- Limiting inspection to the press, candidates and political parties only
- Partially redact all electors' particulars on the registers of electors
- Extending the address proof to all new voter registration applications so as to increase public confidence in voter registration mechanism
- Special queue for electors in need in public elections
Presiding Officers shall set up a special queue for electors in need in public elections. Electors in need include:
- Electors who are 70 years old or above
- Pregnant women
- Persons who are likely to suffer severe physical pain or suffering when queuing to vote due to illness, injury or disability
- Empowering the Chief Electoral Officer to require schools and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) receiving grants from the Government to make available their properties for use as polling station(s) and/or counting station(s) in public elections; and
- Lifting the requirement of withholding financial subsidy arising from the Legislative Council elections and District Council elections until disposal of election petitions