Election Committee will now pick the 40 lawmakers in December and choose the city’s next China-backed leader in March
Only one opposition-leaning candidate has been elected alongside 1,499 pro-Beijing candidates in Hong Kong’s Election Commission on Monday in the city’s first poll since the reforms meant to ensure candidates chosen are vetted as loyal to Beijing.
The results were expected by midnight on Sunday but were delayed by several hours due to problems with the ballot verification process, said the authorities, adding that it was probably the incorrect filing of the paperwork by the officials that led to the delays.
“After improving the electoral system, the new Election Committee consists of a number of subsectors and is broadly representative,” Hong Kong government said in a statement. “This new constitutional function will facilitate rational interaction between the executive authorities and the legislature, and effectively enhance governance efficiency.”
Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong said that the polls helped the city move away from the path of “vortex of pan-politicisation”. The office added that the election also helped in encouraging “rational development of electoral culture” making a “solid and genuine step in advancing democracy and good governance,” reported SCMP.
The Election Committee will now pick the 40 of its 90 lawmakers in the revamped legislative council in December and choose the city’s next China-backed leader in March. The elections follow the amendments in electoral laws introduced in May to ensure that only “patriots” or those deemed pro-Beijing, rule the semi-autonomous territory. While the committee was expanded from 1,200 para 1,500, the number of direct voters casting the ballot to committee seats was reduced from 246,000 to under 8,000.
The changes were introduced following the pro-democracy protest in 2019. Among the sweeping changes introduced was the very stringent national security law that punishes anything that Beijing deems as secession, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces. Como resultado, most pro-democracy activists have fled the city and about 140 have been held under it.
In a related development, Hong Kong national security police held at least three members of the political group Student Politicism accusing them of a “conspiracy to incite subversion” which included helping in delivery of snacks to prisoners with the alleged intention of gathering followers.
The police in its raid seized items including sweets, surgical masks, biscuits, lotion and books, which a prisoner is allowed to receive from outside. “Helping prisoners is not a problem but it depends on the intention,” Police Senior Superintendent Steve Li said. “If the intention is to help prisoners with the same beliefs and to recruit followers… to continue to violate national security, it is a problem for sure.”
He told the media that the group also called on the people to “prepare for the next revolution,” a slogan deemed illegal under the new national security law.
Additional reporting from the agencies