|LCQ1: Delimitation of functional sectors and corporate bodies of the Legislative Council
Following is a question by the Hon Tanya Chan and a reply by the Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (October 20):
Under the law, some statutory bodies and overseas organisations are eligible to be registered as electors for the Legislative Council functional constituencies (FCs), and thus be also eligible to be registered as voters for the subsectors of the Election Committee (EC), which is responsible for electing the Chief Executive. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the information on the statutory bodies and overseas organisations which are currently registered as electors for the Legislative Council FCs or voters for the subsectors of EC, including their names and the constituencies or subsectors to which they belong;
(b) of the justification for such organisations to be eligible to become electors for the Legislative Council FCs, and whether the Government will consider amending the relevant legislation to change such a situation; if it will, of the detailed plan for the relevant work; if not, the reasons for that; and
(c) given that some members of the statutory bodies are appointed by the Government, if the Government has assessed whether or not allowing statutory bodies to become electors for the Legislative Council FCs has left the public to think that administrative agencies interfere with the legislature through elections, and may even breach the provisions of the Basic Law; if the assessment result is in the affirmative, whether the Government will amend the legislation; if the assessment result is in the negative, of the reasons for that?
Our reply to the question raised by the Hon Tanya Chan is as follows:
(a) The Legislative Council (LegCo) Ordinance specifies the persons or organisations eligible to be registered as an elector for a functional constituency (FC). According to the 2010 final register, there are a total of 16,039 corporate bodies and 209,600 individuals registered as electors for the FCs.
As an international city, Hong Kong's outward looking economy is best known for its openness and freedom. We understand that among the corporate electors, there are foreign organisations or offices which are stationed in Hong Kong. They are eligible for registration as electors in the relevant FCs as they are members of the trade associations or organisations specified under the LegCo Ordinance. Certain statutory bodies have also become electors of the relevant FCs according to the services they render. At present, there are over 220,000 FC electors. We do not keep full details of these organisations or offices.
(b) Annex II to the Basic Law provides that the delimitation of functional sectors and corporate bodies of the LegCo election shall be specified by an electoral law introduced by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and passed by the LegCo. The current LegCo Ordinance has gone through the legislative procedures stipulated under the Basic Law. We obtained legal advice in the course of preparing and subsequently amending the Ordinance. The related bills were scrutinised carefully by the LegCo. The composition and electorate base of the existing FCs are in conformity with the Basic Law and related electoral laws.
(c) According to the LegCo Ordinance, a FC corporate elector shall appoint an eligible permanent resident of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region as its authorised representative to vote on its behalf in the related FC. Elections in Hong Kong are conducted in a fair, open and honest manner. Any elector, be it a statutory body or other corporate body, can vote according to the will of the body freely and in confidence with absolutely no interference from the Government.
Ends/Wednesday, October 20, 2010