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Middleburgh Votes Again

The Olympics has overshadowed campaigning for the upcoming Legco elections in Hong Kong on September 7. I am still researching the candidates (and more importantly the issues) in order to cast an informed vote (being a conscientious voter like what I am!)

since I was granted permanent residence status there have been four notable elections in Hong kong:

once you cut through the hype you realise that the upcoming Legco election is basically for the provincial legislature, something like a Landtag in Germany or US state legislature like California, but with a Chinese flavour i.e. the one country, two systems model applies only to the Special Autonomous Regions of Macau and HK unlike other Chinese autonomous regions such as Tibet, Xinjiang, (and Taiwan.) In HK there are 60 seats up for grabs: 30 are associated with geographic constituencies, and 30 reserved for functional constituencies.

Functional Constituencies

If you are a recognised member of one of the "professional groups" ie a doctor registered with the HK medical Council etc, and a registered voter for a geographic constituency, you may be entitled to a second vote in a functional constituency e.g the Medical Functional Constituency.

Whilst there is an equivalence in number of seats ie 30 functional/30 geographic , there are only 230K functional constituency voters as compared to 3.37M geographic constituency voters in HK ie 1 functional vote= 15 geographic votes (hardly consistent with the concept of 1 man 1 vote). Personally I find the whole concept of having a such a second vote elitist and reactionary.

it could be argued that a functional voter given a choice between a pro beijing candidate and a democrat is free to exercise his vote in favour of the best candidate for territory and functional constituency. It has been suggested however that professionals (particularly those who work with partners on mainland) may be more at risk of being "influenced" than the common man and/or the impact would be greater. Whether there is truth in this or not I don't know but a candidate for a geographic constituency needs a deposit of50K HK$ and a minimum of 100 nominations, whereas a functional constituency candidate only needs 25K HK$ and a minimum of 10 nominations. refeerence

In practical terms it would be much easier to field a candidate in a functional constituency (than a geographic constituency) to split votes to ensure that the "right" candidate is elected. (in this contest right depends on whether you are pro democrat or pro Beijing) Of course any group could try this. It would be no more difficult than arranging a "perfect" firework display.

Geographic Constituencies

Although there are 30 geographic seats being contested, there are only 5 electoral “districts” . HK island where I live will return 6 legislators to Legco who will be elected “ proportionally” based on the number of votes cast for "lists" There are a total of x candidates standing on 10 lists. A voter has a single vote and votes for a list containing the candidate/candidates he prefers. Because this system is nothing like the UK, Irish or Australian voting systems I had to look up the legislation to understand how the maths works. It is I believe similar to the Israeli system.

The outgoing incumbents for HK Island are

The following are the candidates who are standing for office ( by list)

The Issues

Not suprisingly most of the candidates are mouthing similar and safe messages about the standard topics: health , education jobs; tax etc so before September 7, I am going to have to find some real differentiators that matter to me. I could for example apply the Cheri Blair Test; This works by asking the candidates to sing a popular karyoke song. You assess their political competence based on whether they have the balls to play; how badly they sing and/or how effective they are at lipsyncing. |
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