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Hong Kong SAR elects new legislature under improved electoral system
Newly-elected lawmakers and authorities in Hong Kong have highlighted the significance of the election in getting rid of past political quagmire and fast-tracking solutions to Hong Kong's deep-seated problems
  ·  2021-12-21  ·   Source: Xinhua News Agency


Staff members count ballots for the election for the seventh-term LegCo of the HKSAR in Hong Kong, south China, on December 19 (XINHUA)  

China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) on December 20 unveiled its new lawmaker lineup after successfully holding its first legislative election under an improved electoral system. 

Ninety elected lawmakers, standing out from a total of 153 candidates from different backgrounds and across the political spectrum, will sit on the seventh-term Legislative Council (LegCo) of the HKSAR.

About 1.35 million eligible voters cast their ballots at more than 600 polling stations across the SAR on December 19.

To facilitate participation for registered Hong Kong voters in the Chinese mainland amid COVID-19 concerns, voting stations were also set up at the checkpoints at Heung Yuen Wai, Lo Wu, and Lok Ma Chau Spur Line. The voters briefly crossed into the Hong Kong side to cast their ballots.

"Overall, the polling and counting processes went very smoothly. The election was conducted in an open, fair and honest manner," Chairman of the HKSAR Electoral Affairs Commission Barnabas Fung said after the conclusion of the election.

The election was also characterized by intense competition. For example, five candidates from the education functional constituency had to vie for a single seat.


Voters wait to cast ballots at a polling station in Whampoa, Hong Kong, south China, on December 19 (XINHUA)  

A sound governance back on track 

After a series of improvements made to the electoral system to better implement the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong," the LegCo now has 90 seats, up from 70, with 40 returned by the Election Committee constituency, 30 by functional constituencies, and 20 by geographical constituencies.

Newly-elected lawmakers and authorities in Hong Kong have highlighted the significance of the election in getting rid of past political quagmire and fast-tracking solutions to Hong Kong's deep-seated problems.

Hong Kong has been plagued by entrenched problems ranging from housing shortage to a wide wealth gap, and young people long for more opportunities. Political distractions over the past years have left such issues unsolved for too long, because in the past, elections in Hong Kong often descended into chaos and were used by external anti-China forces to endanger national security and undermine Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.

Wong Yuen-shan, elected by the Election Committee constituency, said as seen in the past month or so of campaigning, candidates from different backgrounds competed rationally and pragmatically on their ideas, platforms and abilities, as rational discussions regained footing in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong residents are delighted to find that issues of public concern have been featured on the election platforms of the candidates, ranging from ensuring land and housing supply to developing a new northern metropolis.

Chan Han-pan won a seat through the highly competitive geographical constituency of New Territories South West. He has 16 years of experience as a District Council member and nine years as a LegCo member.

Looking forward, he said he will live up to the expectations of the voters by implementing his political platform and bringing the opinions received during the election period to the legislature to reflect voters' voices.


Chan Han-pan talks with a citizen in Hong Kong, south China, on December 8 (XINHUA)   

Robert Lee, elected by the financial services functional constituency, said he will make a difference in conveying the voices of the industry, increasing employment opportunities, promoting economic development and solving the problems encountered by young people.

Yiu Pak-leung, elected by the tourism functional constituency, said the outlook for Hong Kong is bright given support from the central authorities. He noted the country's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) supports Hong Kong in enhancing its status as an international financial, shipping and trade center, and its effort to develop itself into a center for cultural and art exchanges between China and other countries.

"The new LegCo will put sound governance back on the right track, work for the well-being of the people, and move Hong Kong forward," Yiu said. "In the future, I will work with the tourism industry to solve the difficulties and retain the talents, and work hard for the tourism industry to take off again."

A successful practice of democracy 

HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on December 20 that she hopes to cooperate with members of the new LegCo to promote Hong Kong's economic development, its integration into the overall development of the country, and to improve people's livelihood, so as to build a better Hong Kong.

The Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the HKSAR on December 20 hailed the successful election in an online statement released after election results were unveiled.

Calling the election a successful practice of democracy with Hong Kong characteristics, the office said the HKSAR's seventh-term LegCo election has once again demonstrated the strengths and advantages of the improved electoral system and is a further implementation of the principle of "patriots administering Hong Kong."

The Chief Executive in Council, in accordance with the Legislative Council Ordinance, has specified Jan. 1, 2022 as the commencement date of the seventh-term LegCo of the HKSAR.

In addition, under the ordinance, the chief executive of the HKSAR has specified Jan. 12, 2022 as the date on which the 2022 legislative session is to begin, and 11:00 a.m. local time of Jan. 12, 2022 as the time for holding the first meeting of the seventh-term LegCo. The term of office of the LegCo is four years.

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