|Government's statement in response to court's judgment on disqualification of persons with unserved prison sentences as candidates for LegCo elections
In response to the Court of First Instance's judgment on June 14, 2012, regarding two judicial review cases on the right of persons with unserved prison sentences to be qualified as candidates for Legislative Council (LegCo) elections, a spokesman for the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau stated the following today (July 12)
The LegCo elections have all along been conducted in accordance with the electoral legislation enacted by the LegCo. Section 39(1)(b) of the LegCo Ordinance which disqualifies persons with unserved prison sentences from being nominated as candidates at a LegCo election and from being elected as Members has been in place for many years.
The Court handed down the judgment on the relevant applications for judicial review holding that section 39(1)(b) of the LegCo Ordinance is not a proportionate restriction of the right to be elected and declaring it to be unconstitutional.
After carefully examining the judgment, the Administration has decided not to appeal against the judgment. We believe the Administration's decision is in the interest of promoting certainty and smooth conduct of the upcoming LegCo election in September. However, the Administration is of the view that section 39(1)(b) was enacted to serve legitimate aims, and there is a need to carefully re-examine the reasons for and against disqualifying persons to be nominated as candidates. There is a need to maintain public confidence in the LegCo and LegCo Members and ensure the LegCo's proper operation, as well as maintain public confidence in the electoral process.
In this connection, the Administration will conduct a review on the qualification of persons with unserved prison sentences as candidates for LegCo elections. We shall consult the public on this matter and other related issues at an appropriate juncture and propose changes to the relevant electoral legislation accordingly if necessary.
Meanwhile, the 2012 LegCo election will continue to be organised in accordance with the prevalent electoral laws, as read with the latest judgment of the Court of First Instance."
Ends/Thursday, July 12, 2012