Elections in Hong Kong

Elections in Hong Kong take place when certain political offices in the government need to be filled. Every four years, half of the unicameral Legislative Council of Hong Kong's seventy seats representing the geographical constituencies are returned by the electorate; the other thirty five seats representing the functional constituencies are elected through smaller closed elections within business sectors.

Hong Kong has a multi-party system, with numerous parties in which not one party often has the chance of gaining power alone. The Chief Executive of Hong Kong is nonpartisan, but has to work with several parties to form (de facto) a coalition government.

Any Hong Kong permanent resident aged 18 or above may register as an elector in the geographical constituency in which they reside, except those mentally incapacitated and those serving in an armed force. Persons serving a sentence of imprisonment used to be barred from registering and voting, but a 2008 judgment by the Court of First Instance of the High Court ruled that a blanket bar was unconstitutional and that the Government had a year to change the offending provisions. The Government did not appeal the judgment, and held consultations with the public on how the law should be changed. A bill was then introduced to the LegCo, providing that no person would be barred from electoral registration or voting because of criminal conviction, even for crimes against the electoral system. It became law and entered into force on 30 October 2009.

From late 2003 on, the Government and the public have been drawing out plans of democratisation with the ultimate aim of electing a chief executive by universal suffrage after nomination by an ad hoc committee (Basic Law, Art. 45) and electing the whole Legislative Council by universal suffrage (Basic Law, Art. 68). In late 2007, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress decided that the former can be achieved in 2017 or later, and the latter can be achieved after the former has been.

Chief Executive electionsEdit

Article 45Edit

Article 45 gives the requirements for choosing the Chief Executive, and Annex I does likewise in a more specific manner.

The specific method for selecting the Chief Executive is prescribed in Basic Law Annex I: "Method for the Selection of the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region". The Election Committee shall be composed of 1200 members from the following sectors:

Sector Members[1]
Industrial, commercial and financial sectors 300
The professions 300
Labour, social services, religious and other sectors 300
Members of the Legislative Council, Representatives of district-based organisations, Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress, Representatives of Hong Kong members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference 300
Total 1200

Article 46Edit

According to Article 46 of the Hong Kong Basic Law, elections for the Chief Executive are held every five years. An 800-member electoral college called the Election Committee is elected by businessmen and professionals (those eligible for functional constituencies, with less than 180 000 eligible voters), and some other sectors of the society, with each of the twenty-eight sectors of the economy receiving a set number of electoral votes. The eligible voters in each sector vote directly for the electors, who in turn cast ballots for Chief Executive.

Pursuant to the Annex II of the Basic Law, the Election Committee also selected 10 Members of the 1st LegCo by block vote in 1998. Four of the seats were reassigned to geographical constituencies for the 2nd LegCo in 2000, and the remainder for the 3rd LegCo in 2004.

The EC elections are quite irregular. They were held in 1998 and 2000, but none (except for the 2002 by-election) have been held since. The claim in Ann. 1, Sect. 2, of the Basic Law, saying that the Election Committee must be renewed at least once every five years.

Article 46 was a subject of controversy regarding the term of the newly elected Chief Executive. The article states:

The law requires a term of five years, but mainland officials have said the new leader filling-in can only serve until 2007. The matter was settled after a re-interpretation by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC).[2] Though this did damage the credibility and integrity of the one country, two systems formula.[2]

A literal interpretation would mean Tsang has to serve until 2010, but this is not common sense behaviour in most other nations; one can only complete the term of a predecessor. The Chinese government has decided that the new leader would serve until Inauguration day in 2007.

2005 CrisisEdit

The last was held in 2002, and with the resignation of Tung Chee Hwa an election would have been called on 10 July, had the election been contested. A controversial decision by the National People's Congress stated that a resignation did not end a term, so that Donald Tsang would serve only until 2007, rather than 2010 had a term been deemed to begin with each resignation. This is in line with the practice on mainland China (see Hong Kong Basic Law Article 46). The 800-member Election Committee held a vote on a day specified by the sitting chief executive sometime during the six months of the year prior to the HKSAR's Inauguration Day, 1 July. An absolute majority of the votes (i.e. 401 votes) are required to be elected. If no candidate has a majority vote, the one with the lowest vote is eliminated for the next round until a candidate has a majority vote.

In 1997, Tung Chee Hwa was elected with eighty percent of the electoral votes against two other candidates, Mr. Peter Woo (吳光正) and Sir Ti Liang Yang (楊鐵樑). In 2002, Tung was re-elected uncontested, as he had received 713 signatures of support in the Electoral Committee, and 100 are required for nomination.(Annex I, Section 4, Basic Law)

The 2005 election provided a sense of déjà vu for many, as Donald Tsang cruised to victory with 674 nomination signatures out of a possible 796 (four seats were vacant).

The EC elections are quite irregular. They were held in 1998 and 2000, but none (except for the 2002 by-election) have been held since. The claim in Ann. 1, Sect. 2, of the Basic Law, saying that the Election Committee must be renewed at least once every five years, exposed an interesting flaw in the system that was averted when Tsang was the only candidate nominated.

The problem was that the timing is crucial for the new chief executive election after Tung Chee Hwa's resignation on 12 March 2005. Since electoral law states that an election must be held 120 days after the vacancy, an election would be held on the tenth of July. It was unclear as to the exact time period separating the election and the date of taking of office for this Election Committee. If the new EC convened prior to the chief executive election, it would be applied to select the next chief executive, but otherwise the old Election Committee dating from 2000 would have to complete the task (see 2005 Hong Kong Chief Executive election for more information on the topic). The second round produces a further dispute, if the term of the old EC ended after the first round of voting but before the second. It would be rather insensible to use different electors for the two rounds; the same one would probably have to be prescribed.

Legislative ElectionsEdit

The Legislative Council has 70 members, of whom 40 are elected by popular vote in geographical constituencies and District Council (Second) functional constituency, and 30 elected from other functional constituencies.

In Hong Kong, legislative elections are held every four years, in years evenly divisible by four. The most recent election was held on 4 September 2016.

Electoral systemEdit

The 35 geographical seats and seats of the Legislative Council are returned by proportional representation using the largest remainder method and the Hare quota in each of five constituencies. This system encourages and sustains multiple political parties.

Geographical constituency Projected population for 2020 election Number of seats Voting system
Hong Kong Island 1,268,000 6 Proportional Representation (Largest remainder method)
Kowloon West 1,141,900 6
Kowloon East 1,084,600 5
New Territories West 2,100,400 9
New Territories East 1,775,600 9

There are 29 functional constituencies. The District Council (Second) FC returns five members by proportional representation system. The other FCs return members with the first past the post method. There are no rules governing the uniformity of functional constituency elections, although some of the elections use the preferential elimination system, or instant-runoff voting.

Functional constituencies of Hong Kong[3]

Functional constituency[a] Number of registered electors
Bodies Individuals Total
1 Heung Yee Kuk   155 155
2 Agriculture and Fisheries 160   160
3 Insurance 141   141
4 Transport 178   178
5 Education   88,964 88,964
6 Legal   6,022 6,022
7 Accountancy   22,089 22,089
8 Medical   10,493 10,493
9 Health Services   36,491 36,491
10 Engineering   8,261 8,261
11 Architectural, Surveying and Planning   6,117 6,117
12 Labour 597   597
13 Social Welfare   12,293 12,293
14 Real Estate and Construction 441 286 727
15 Tourism 1,236   1,236
16 Commercial (First) 1,040   1,040
17 Commercial (Second) 748 1,066 1,814
18 Industrial (First) 715 715
19 Industrial (Second) 805   805
20 Finance 132   132
21 Financial Services 578   578
22 Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication 2,060 155 2,215
23 Import and Export 875 619 1,494
24 Textiles and Garment 3,579 130 3,709
25 Wholesale and Retail 1,829 4,168 5,997
26 Information Technology 364 5,383 5,747
27 Catering 582 7,414 7,996
28 District Council (First)   425 425
Total
16,060 210,531 226,591
  1. ^ The list does not include District Council (Second) Functional Constituency, which consisted of all other individual registered electors not belong to one of the other 28 functional constituencies.

2010 reform packageEdit

As a result of the passage of 'Amendment to method for forming the Hong Kong Legislative Council', the number of Legislative Council members is increased from 60 to 70. Five new geographical constituency seats,[3] and five new directly elected Functional Constituency seats are created.[4]

Plugging the by-election "loophole"Edit

In mid-May 2011, the government, which considered the resignations leading to "de facto referendum" (2010 Hong Kong by-election) 'abusive' and a waste of resources, revealed its plan to do away with by-elections entirely. Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam proposed that a Legislative Council seat in any geographical constituency or one of the newly created five-seat district council 'superconstituency' vacated by the resignation or death of a legislator would be filled by a 'leapfrog' mechanism by the next best placed candidate at the previous election.[5] The plan attracted criticism from Pan-Democrats; even its allies in the legislature expressed reservations about the workability of the plan.[6] The Bar Association severely criticised the plan, expressing concern over the constitutionality of the proposals, particularly the reasonableness on restrictions on the right to participation.[7]

The government tabled a bill to amend current legislation for by-elections for 13 July.[8] Following call by the Central Government Liaison Office to re-think, the government revised its proposal on 28 June stipulating replacement by an unsuccessful candidate on the same election ticket.[8] The government bowed to pressure and announced one week later that it would suspend reading of the bill for two months, pending consultations on the revised proposals.[9]

Electoral performances by partyEdit

Party 1998 2000 2004 2008 2012 2016
% Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats % Seats
Democratic 42.87 13 31.66 12 25.19 9 20.63 8 13.65 6 9.22 7
Liberal 3.40 10 1.88 8 6.72 10 4.33 7 2.69 5 0.99 4
DAB 25.23 9 28.40 11 22.73 10 22.92 10 20.22 13 16.68 12
PA 5 1.95 4 0.80 0
Frontier 10.03 3 6.78 2 6.89 1 2.19 1
Citizens 2.81 1
ADPL 3.99 0 4.75 1 4.22 1 2.79 1 1.69 1 1.53 0
CTU 7.33 2 3.95 1 2.80 1
NWSC 4.50 1 3.33 1 2.80 1 2.42 1 0.97 1
New Forum 1.60 1 0.25 0 1 1
AFA 1.38 0 3.44 1
FTU 2.97 3 5.70 4 7.06 6 7.93 5
Civic 13.66 5 14.08 6 9.59 6
LSD 10.10 3 4.86 1 2.61 1
Civic Act-up 2.04 1
Labour 6.19 4 4.70 1
People Power 9.73 3 4.59 1
ES 0.32 3
NPP 3.76 2 7.73 3
KWND 1.91 1
ND 1.58 1 1.46 0
BPA 2.29 7
Youngspiration 2.06 2
Civic Passion 5.63 1
Demosistō 2.34 1
DG 1.76 1

District Council electionsEdit

There are eighteen districts, and thus eighteen District Councils in Hong Kong, each being a city council for its district. There is one constituency for, on average, every 17,000 residents, as there are 405 constituencies for 2008, and nearly 7 million residents in Hong Kong. A member is elected from each constituency by the first-past-the-post system. The Chief Executive may appoint a set number of members to each council, totalling 102, and the chairpersons of the 27 rural committees are ex officio members of the councils.

Elections of deputies to the National People's Congress of the PRCEdit

Article 21 of The Basic Law of HKSAR stipulates:

Chinese citizens who are residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be entitled to participate in the management of state affairs according to law. In accordance with the assigned number of seats and the selection method specified by the National People's Congress, the Chinese citizens among the residents of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall locally elect deputies of the Region to the National People's Congress to participate in the work of the highest organ of state power.

There are 36 Hong Kong deputies to the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), chosen by an electoral college composed of the following:

  • Members of the previous electoral college that had elected the Hong Kong deputies to the 10th NPC;
  • Hong Kong delegates of the 10th Chinese People's Political Consultation Committee;
  • Members of the Election Committee (which elects the chief executive) who are Chinese nationals, except those who opt out; and
  • The chief executive of the HKSAR;

Village Representative electionsEdit

Rural Representative consists of Village Representative and Kaifong Representative.

The Court of Final Appeal ruled the Secretary for Home Affairs had to consider whether the person elected to represent a village was elected in accordance with electoral arrangements consistent with the Bill of Rights and the Sex Discrimination Ordinance whether to approve an elected Village Representative in December 2000. This decision caused Hong Kong Government to set up new arrangements for Village Representative. There are two types of Village Representatives, namely

(i) Indigenous Inhabitant Representative representing indigenous inhabitants* of an Indigenous Village; and

(ii) Resident Representative representing all residents of an Existing Village

  • Indigenous Inhabitant—in relation to an Indigenous Village that existed in 1898 (whether or not the name the Village now has is the same name it had in 1898) means

(i) a person who was in 1898 a resident of the Village; or

(ii) a person who is descended through the male line from a person mentioned in (i).

In 2013, the new Village Representative Election Ordinance has been implemented that the Kaifong Representatives from Cheung Chau and Ping Chau are regulated by the Home Affairs Department.

The first new arrangements Village Representative elections was held in 2019. The next Village Representative elections were held in 2023.

Latest electionsEdit

2019 District Council electionEdit

e • d Summary of the 24 November 2019 District Councils of Hong Kong election results
Political Affiliation Popular vote % % ± Standing Elected ±
Democratic Party 362,275 12.36  1.20 99 91  54
Civic Party 141,713 4.83  1.21 36 32  20
Neo Democrats 87,923 3.00  0.08 20 19  7
Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood 77,099 2.63  1.19 21 19  7
Power for Democracy 69,764 2.38  2.11 22 17  13
Team Chu Hoi Dick of New Territories West 31,369 1.07 - 9 7  7
Labour Party 28,036 0.96  0.60 7 7  4
Community Sha Tin 25,509 0.87 - 6 5  1
Community March 12,100 0.41 - 5 5  5
Tuen Mun Community Network 20,086 0.69 - 5 4  4
Community Alliance 17,635 0.60 - 5 4  3
Neighbourhood and Worker's Service Centre 16,176 0.55  0.56 4 4  2
Tin Shui Wai Connection 15,998 0.55 - 4 4  4
Tai Po Democratic Alliance 13,185 0.45 - 4 4  4
Civic Passion 14,326 0.49  0.28 5 2  2
Tsz Wan Shan Constructive Power 10,160 0.35 - 2 2  2
Democratic Alliance 9,886 0.34  0.03 3 2  1
Deliberation Tsuen Wan 9,516 0.32 - 3 2  1
Action 18 9,006 0.31 - 3 2  2
Tseung Kwan O Pioneers 8,989 0.31 - 2 2  2
League of Social Democrats 8,384 0.29  0.16 3 2  2
Sai Kung Commons 4,677 0.16 - 2 2  2
People Power 8,149 0.28 - 2 1  1
Empowering Hong Kong 5,590 0.19 - 1 1  1
Fu Sun Generation 5,486 0.19 - 1 1  1
HTTH Environmental Concern Group 5,389 0.18 - 1 1  1
North District Blueprint 5,288 0.18 - 1 1  1
Tsing Yi People 4,727 0.16 - 1 1  1
Sha Tin Community Vision 4,691 0.16 - 1 1  1
Luen Wo United 4,491 0.15 - 1 1  1
Lung Mun Concern Group 4,410 0.15 - 1 1  1
Cheung Sha Wan West Front 4,281 0.15 - 1 1  1
Shau Kei Wan East Future 4,204 0.14 - 1 1  1
Choi Hung Estate Social Service Association 3,523 0.12 - 1 1  1
Cheung Sha Wan Community Establishment Power 3,359 0.11 - 1 1  1
Unity of San Hui 3,276 0.11 - 1 1  1
Tseung Kwan O Shining 3,089 0.11 - 1 1  1
Tsuen Wan Community Network 2,788 0.10  0.01 1 1  1
Victoria Social Association 2,640 0.09 - 2 1  1
Independent democrats and others 604,890 20.63 - 226 133  100
Total for pro-democracy camp 1,674,083 57.10  16.90 515 388  265
Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong 492,042 16.78  4.61 181 21  96
Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions 128,796 4.39  1.72 43 5  21
Liberal Party 27,684 0.94  0.80 11 5  3
Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong 66,504 2.27  0.37 25 3  16
Federation of Public Housing Estates 19,495 0.66  0.42 7 3  1
Roundtable 26,055 0.89 - 12 2  5
New People's Party 79,975 2.73  2.51 28 0  13
Civil Force 7,164 0.24 - 3 0  2
Kowloon West New Dynamic 3,052 0.10  0.71 2 0  0
Federation of Hong Kong and Kowloon Labour Unions 1,734 0.06  0.16 1 0  1
Pro-Beijing Independents 380,529 12.98  3.70 185 23  85
Total for pro-Beijing camp 1,233,030 42.06  12.55 498 62  242
Non-aligned independents and others 24,623 0.83 - 77 2  1
Total 2,931,745 100.00 - 1,090 452  21
Total valid votes 2,931,745 99.59 - Elected 452 -
Invalid votes 12,097 0.41 - Ex officio 27 -
Total votes / turnout 2,943,842 71.23  24.22 Total 479 -
Registered voters 4,132,977 100.00  32.44
Source


2017 Chief executive electionEdit

e • d Summary of the 26 March 2017 Hong Kong Chief Executive election results
Candidates Parties Votes %
Carrie Lam Nonpartisan 777 66.81%
John Tsang Nonpartisan 365 31.38%
Woo Kwok-hing Nonpartisan 21 1.81%
Total 1,163 100%
Valid votes 1,163 98.06%
Invalid votes 23 1.94%
Votes cast / turnout 1,186 99.33%
Eligible voters 1,194
Source: Election result · Turnout rate

2016 Legislative electionEdit

e • d Summary of the 4 September 2016 Legislative Council of Hong Kong election results
Political affiliation
Geographical Constituencies Traditional Functional Constituencies
District Council (Second) FC Total
seats
±
Votes
%
±pp
Seats
Votes
%
±pp
Seats
Votes
% ±pp
Seats
DAB 361,617 16.68  3.54 7 98 0.06  0.01 3 568,561 29.77  0.19 2 12  1
BPA 49,745 2.29 N/A 1 4,622 2.76 N/A 6 - - - - 7  0
FTU 169,854 7.83  0.77 3 - - - 2 233,236 12.11  3.36 0 5  1
Liberal 21,500 0.99  1.70 0 6,381 3.82  3.06 4 - - - - 4  1
NPP 167,589 7.73  3.97 3 - - - - - - - - 3  1
FLU - - - - - - - 1 - - - - 1  0
New Forum - - - - 1,389 0.83 - 1 - - - - 1  0
Pro-Beijing others 100,711 4.64 N/A 2 40,255 24.07 N/A 5 - - - - 7  1
Total for pro-Beijing camp 871,016 40.17  2.49 16 52,745 31.54  4.62 22 801,797 41.98  3.45 2 40  3
Democratic 199,876 9.22  4.43 5 1,231 0.74  0.29 0 735,597 38.51  4.25 2 7  1
Civic 207,885 9.59  4.49 5 3,405 2.04  1.11 1 28,311 1.48 N/A 0 6  0
PP–LSD 156,019 7.20  7.39 2 - - - - - - - - 2  1
Professional Commons - - - - 18,384 10.99 N/A 2 - - - - 2  0
Labour 101,860 4.70  1.49 1 - - - - - - - - 1  3
NWSC 20,974 0.97  1.45 0 - - - - 303,457 15.89 N/A 1 1  0
PTU - - - - 45,984 27.49  5.28 1 - - - - 1  0
ADPL 33,255 1.53  0.16 0 - - - - 17,175 0.90  15.57 0 0  1
Neo Democrats 31,595 1.46  0.12 0 - - - - 23,631 1.24 N/A 0 0  1
Other democrats 29,704 1.37 N/A 0 29,895 17.87 N/A 3 - - - - 3  2
Total for pan-democrats 781,168 36.02  20.14 13 98,899 59.13  3.15 7 1,108,171 58.02  7.29 3 23  3
ALLinHK 81,422 3.75 New 2 - - - - - - - - 2  2
CP–PPI–HKRO 154,176 7.11 N/A 1 - - - - - - - - 1  0
Demosistō 50,818 2.34 New 1 - - - - - - - - 1  1
Democracy Groundwork 38,183 1.76 New 1 - - - - - - - - 1  1
Other localists 87,294 4.03 N/A 1 - - - - - - - - 1  1
Total for localists 411,893 19.00 - 6 - - - - - - - - 6  5
Path of Democracy 18,112 0.84 New 0 - - - - - - - - 0  0
Third Side 13,461 0.62 New 0 - - - - - - - - 0  0
Non-aligned independents 72,761 3.36 N/A 0 15,613 9.33 N/A 1 - - - - 1  1
Total for non-aligned others 103,334 4.81  3.71 0 15,613 9.33  7.78 1 - - - - 1  1
Total 2,167,411 100.00 35 167,257 100.00 30 1,909,968 100.00 5 70 -
Valid votes 2,167,411 98.42  0.04 167,257 96.78  2.81 1,909,968 96.31  1.15
Invalid votes 34,872 1.53  0.04 5,563 3.22  2.81 73,081 3.72  1.15
Votes cast / turnout 2,202,283 58.28  4.97 172,820 74.33  4.68 1,983,049 57.09  5.14
Registered voters 3,779,085 100.00  9.03 232,498 100.00  7.15 3,473,792 100.00  7.89

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c HK basic law web pdf. "HK basic law." The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative region of the People's Republic of China. Retrieved on 8 January 2007.
  2. ^ a b Williams, Mark. Competition Policy and Law in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. [2005] (2005). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-83631-X.
  3. ^ a b Public Consultation on the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive and for Forming the Legislative Council in 2012, Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Bureau, Government of Hong Kong, 18 November 2009
  4. ^ Cheung, Gary (22 Jun 2010) "Beijing's U-turn 'to thwart radicals'", South China Morning Post
  5. ^ Cheung, Gary (18 May 2011). "By-elections given a no-vote". South China Morning Post
  6. ^ Fung, Wai-yee Fanny (19 May 2011). "Plan to scrap by-elections criticised". South China Morning Post
  7. ^ Chong, Tanna (29 June 2011). "Government still not in clear over by-elections axe". South China Morning Post
  8. ^ a b Fung, Wai-yee Fanny (1 July 2011). "Majority oppose polls-axe bid". South China Morning Post
  9. ^ Lee, Colleen; Wong, Natalie (5 July 2011). "U-turn" Archived 16 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine. The Standard (Hong Kong)

External linksEdit