PLC Paper No. LS 10
Paper for the House Committee Meeting
of the Provisional Legislative Council
on 8 August 1997
Legal Service Division Report on
Electoral Affairs Commission Bill
Objects of the Bill
To provide for the establishment of the Electoral Affairs Commission (懀he Commission� as a body corporate, for the purpose of making recommendations regarding the delineation of geographical constituencies and demarcation of their boundaries and to be responsible for the conduct and supervision of elections, and matters incidental thereto.
Provisional LegCo Brief Reference
2. CAB C1/33 of 10 July 1997 from the Constitutional Affairs Bureau.
Date of First Reading
3. 23 July 1997.
4. Part I of the Bill makes provisions for the interpretation of the Bill.
5. Part II of the Bill provides for the establishment of the Commission. The Commission consists of 3 members (one of whom is the Chairman) appointed by the Chief Executive. The Chairman must be a Judge of the High Court. It together with Schedule 1 provide for the conditions under which a person is not eligible for appointment as a member of the Commission. A member of the Commission may hold office for a period not less than 3 years and not more than 5 years.
6. Part III of the Bill provides for the functions, powers and duties of the Commission. The Commission makes recommendations for the division of Hong Kong into geographical constituencies and has the responsibility for conducting and supervising elections. The Commission is also responsible for the conduct and supervision of any process for the formation of the election committee and to report to the Chief Executive on any matter relating to elections or the formation of the election committee. The Commission is empowered to obtain from the appropriate authorities the information it needs to estimate the population of Hong Kong (which is necessary for the purpose of making recommendations regarding geographical constituencies) and to receive complaints relating to elections from any person. The Commission is also empowered to issue guidelines relating to the conduct or supervision of elections and any process for the formation of the election committee. The Commission is further empowered to make regulations for the registration of electors, the conduct or supervision of or procedure at an election and the formation of the election committee and other related matters. The Commission has the duty to make a report within 3 months of the conclusion of any election (including in the case of a General election, defined in clause 2(1), a report on the formation of the election committee) to the Chief Executive.
7. Part IV of the Bill sets out general provisions relating to the Commission. It creates the office of the Chief Electoral Officer whose function is to do all acts and things necessary for implementing the decisions of the Commission. It also provides for disqualification of the members of the Commission from holding office as a member of certain specified public bodies or participating in elections (otherwise than as electors) while holding office as a member of the Commission or within 4 years of ceasing to be a member of the Commission.
8. Part V of the Bill requires the Commission within a specified period (for the purpose of the first Legislative Council election, not later than 31 October 1997) to submit to the Chief Executive a report containing, amongst other things, recommendations as to the delineation of geographical constituencies for the purposes of an election to which Part V applies. It also provides for the criteria for making the recommendations. It also requires the Chief Executive to table the report in the Provisional Legislative Council or the Legislative Council (as the case may be).
9. Schedule 2 contains provisions relating to the regulation and removal of members of the Commission and procedural provisions necessary for the functioning of the Commission.
10. In general terms, the composition, functions, powers and duties of the Commission are similar to those of the former Boundary and Election Commission.
11. Para 16 of the Provisional LegCo Brief states that no formal public consultation has been conducted because of the very tight schedule for introducing the Bill.
12. There is a time factor in relation to this Bill, which is explained at para 9 of the Provisional LegCo Brief. In short, it is proposed that the Commission reports its recommendations on the geographical constituency boundaries in respect of the first election of the HKSAR Legislative Council by 31 October 1997.
13. The Legal Service Division will continue its examination of the legal and drafting aspects of the Bill. Assistance will be provided to the Bills Committee when it is formed.
Lam Ping-man, Stephen
Assistant Legal Adviser
Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
24 July 1997
Last Udpated on 23 October 1997