A record 195 candidates are running in the upcoming direct election of 14 seats in the legislature, Legislative Assembly Electoral Affairs Committee (CAEAL) President Tong Hio Fong said on Wednesday.
If all the candidates are formally approved by the committee, there will be nearly 14 candidates for each directly-elected seat.
Tong also said there were two groups – officially known as lists – that have not completed all the required paperwork while some of the candidates on another two lists are not registered voters and, consequently, cannot stand in the election.
The direct and indirect legislative elections will take place on September 17.
A record 25 groups are running in the direct election while six groups are running in the indirect election. Four years ago, the committee received 22 groups’ applications to stand in the direct election, but only 20 were approved. There were 145 candidates running in the last direct election.
Information on all the groups running in the direct and indirect elections was posted at the Public Administration Building Wednesday afternoon.
Speaking to reporters at the building after a regular closed-door meeting by the committee, Tong said after his committee had checked all the lists received, it found that there was something wrong with four of them.
According to Tong, four candidates in two groups are ineligible to run in the election since they are not registered voters. He said the two groups could replace the candidates with those who are eligible.
Tong said the other two groups had not submitted their candidates’ full personal information or other required documents.
Tong, a judge by profession, also said his committee would inform the four groups’ official representatives, adding they must hand in the required paperwork or correct their mistakes no later than next Monday.
Pointing out that the Legislative Assembly Election Law states that each list running in the direct election must comprise a minimum of four candidates, Tong said there was one group facing removal from the direct election if it cannot replace its ineligible candidate(s) in time.
Asked by a reporter the name of the four groups, Tong said it was not the right time to disclose the information.
According to Tong, the committee will announce a final list of candidates approved to run in the elections on July 25. A draw will then be held to assign each group a number on the ballot papers on July 26.
Pearl Horizon Condominium Owners United Association President Kou Meng Pok is running in the upcoming direct legislative election under the Pearl Horizon Buyers Rights Defence Union banner. He said on Monday that if the Pearl Horizon residential project dispute is solved before polling day, his list would withdraw from the election.
Kou’s list comprises five candidates.
The project has been moth-balled since the government decided in late 2015 to axe the troubled project’s temporary land concession that had expired. The government has repeatedly said that the issue must be solved in strict adherence with the Land Law. Hong Kong-based Polytec is suing the government over the matter.
Commenting on the possible withdrawal of Kou’s list, Tong said that it was each candidate’s personal choice. He noted that if any candidate decided to withdraw from the election, they must inform his committee at least three days before polling day.