Forget the security law: here comes the election – and you the voter can play your part.
The 2020 Legco election is scheduled for September 6, with some democrat activists calling the most critical election in our lifetimes. That may be hyperbole.
But they are also saying that the new security law may make this the last where candidates are not screened for their political sympathies. Probably not hyperbole.
To maximise their chances, and to fly the flag for the democratic process, the pro-democracy camp will hold a primary this weekend to choose its candidates for the Legco poll.
The primary is open to all registered voters. You just need to bring your Hong Kong ID card and proof of address to the voting station.
With the drama over the security law, it is easy to forget that the democrat forces obliterated the pro-Beijing parties in last year’s District Council elections,
Thanks to an energised electorate and a huge voter registration drive, they tripled their number of seats and took control of every district council (except ours).
With that sort of turnout, democrats believe they have a strong chance of winning control of Legco.
Of course, the communist party forces have been struck by the same thought, which is one reason they rushed through the new security law.
In any case, elections and electioneering are still legal, especially a privately-held one like this, organised by a group called Power for Democracy.
The voting is simple but the background is a bit complicated, because Hong Kong’s electoral system is designed that way. Here’s a brief explainer.
The Legislative Council (Legco) has 70 seats: 35 geographical seats of the kind you find in a regular democratic system, and 35 functional constituency seats that you don’t find anywhere else. A functional constituency is a business or sectoral seat, like agriculture and fisheries, Heung Yee Kuk or education.
It’s no secret that Beijing officials created the functional constituencies to shore up their monopoly on power. It has worked so far; democrat parties have always won the popular vote and pro-CCP parties have dominated the FC vote.
Right now the pro-democracy camp holds 24 seats; that number was 30 after the 2016 election, but the government found a way to disqualify six members.
In this weekend’s primary, every Lantau voter gets two votes:
* the local seat, known as New Territories West.
* the so-called district council ‘superseat’, technically known as the District Council (Second) Seat.
In Hong Kong’s system of multi-member constituencies, NT West returns nine members. The democrat parties currently hold six and don’t believe they will win enough votes to take a seventh. But eight democracy groups, known as ‘lists,’ are competing, so they are seeking your help in whittling that down to six. Choose just one list.
The ‘superseat’ is open to sitting district councillors from all over Hong Kong (there is another district council FC in which councillors themselves vote). Again, your job is to choose just one candidate or list.
That’s it. Happy voting.
AT A GLANCE
What: Pro-democracy camp primary election
When: 9am-9pm, July 11-12
Where: Mui Wo: 8 Ngan Kwong Wan Rd, opposite Ngan Wan Estate Block 3.
Tung Chung: G/F Ying Fook House, Ying Tung Estate (July 11 & 12)
Fuk Yat House, Yat Tung Estate, open area (July 11); Tung Chung Town Centre Bus Terminal (July 12)
Bring: Hong Kong ID plus proof of address (eg, utility bill)
Further information & donations: Power for Democracy Facebook page