LC Paper No. CB(2)1658/98-99(02)
Administration's Response to Points raised on 12 March 1999 by
Members of the Bill Committee on
Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 1999
||Regarding the 1998 LegCo elections, to provide the number of complaints on illegal canvassing activities in "no canvassing zone" by supporters of candidates and broadcasting vehicles.|
|A1 :||During the 1998 LegCo election, the Complaints Committee under the Electoral Affairs Commission received 32 complaints about illegal canvassing activities in "no canvassing zone" on polling day. Of these, 30 involved candidates or their supporters, and 2 involved vehicles used by candidates for the purposes of promotion and broadcasting appeal messages. On the other hand, Returning Officers received 242 complaints about illegal canvassing activities which are of a minor nature.|
Complaints about illegal canvassing activities in no canvassing zone on the polling day represent only a small fraction of the total number of over 2,200 complaints received. We consider that the existing restrictions on canvassing activities on the polling day are sufficient and appropriate.
||To advise the amount of election expenses reimbursed to candidates in legislative elections in Canada, Australia and France and whether corrupt conduct in relation to these practices is prevalent in these countries.
|A2 :||According to the information we gathered, the total amounts of election expenses reimbursed to candidates in legislative elections in Canada, Australia and France are as follows :-
|Canada (1997) ||:||C$16,524,590 (HK$84,275,409)
|Australia (1998)||:||A$33,822,496 (HK$169,112,480)
|France (1997) ||:||Fr350,400,000 (HK$268,300,153)
As to whether corrupt conduct in relation to these practices is prevalent in these countries, we do not have detailed information in this respect.
||To advise whether a system of reimbursement of election expenses incurred by candidates in legislative elections is adopted in USA.
||As far as we know, there is no system of reimbursement of election expenses to candidates in legislative elections in USA.
||To calculate the amount of election expenses which could be reimbursed to candidates in the 1998 LegCo elections, on the assumption that the system of reimbursement adopted by France is used.
||As we pointed out in previous Bills Committee meeting, the Government has provided considerable subsidies in kind to candidates running in the LegCo elections. These include providing two rounds of free mailing service for candidates to send election pamphlets to the electors; RTHK to produce a series of publicity programmes for candidates to introduce their election platforms on TV and radio, and organise forums for candidates to debate on various topical issues; the Registration and Electoral Offices to produce leaflets introducing the candidates etc.. In view of the various subsidies in kind above, we do not consider that there is a need to further subsidize candidates in their campaigning activities with additional public funds.
Regarding Members' request for calculation of the amount of election expenses which could be reimbursed to candidates in the 1998 LegCo elections, we have done the calculation on the assumptions made by the Members, i.e. all candidates/lists of candidates who secure 5% or more valid votes or who are elected will be reimbursed all election expenses as declared. The amount will be around $27.6 million. Detailed information is at Annex.
||To provide a breakdown on the budget and expenditure of the publicity programme to promote the 1998 LegCo elections and to advise the amount of money spent per elector.|
||The budget and actual expenditure for the publicity programmes for promoting the 1998 LegCo election are $40.46 million and $40.80 million respectively. The number of electors registered in the 1998 Final Register is 2.80 million. The amount spent per registered elector is about $14.|
||A Member refers to an incident of missing of a bundle of postage-free election advertisements by the post office in the 1994 District Board election. To advise what measures have been taken to avoid recurrence of similar incidents.|
|A6 :||We have checked the relevant records but found nothing covering the incident described. The then Boundary and Election Commission did not receive any complaint relating to the alleged incident.
In the 1995 Municipal Councils election, the election postings (about 2,300 in number) of a candidate were lost in the process of delivery. Upon receipt of the report on this incident, the Postmaster General made appropriate arrangements immediately to enable the candidate to send the lost postings again. The Postmaster General also reminded his staff to exercise more care in delivery so as to ensure that similar incidents would not happen again.
In the 1998 LegCo election, no incidents of a similar nature happened.
Constitutional Affairs Bureau