On Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung's proposal regarding the 12 FCs specified in section 37 of the Legislative Council Ordinance, to provide information on the rationale for selecting these 12 FCs, whether any requests have been received from other FCs for inclusion as one of the 12 specified FCs, and candidates and elected Members in the 1998 LegCo election who are not of Chinese nationality or have the right of abode in foreign countries.
Under section 37 of the existing Legislative Council Ordinance, persons who are not of Chinese nationality or who have the right of abode in other places may contest in the 12 specified FCs. The reason for proposing to choose these 12 FCs is that we believe there should be a higher chance of having persons who are not of Chinese nationality wishing to contest in these 12 FCs. The proposal was passed by the Provisional LegCo. The relevant arrangement worked well in the 1998 LegCo election, and we have not received any requests from other FCs for inclusion into these 12 specified FCs. We therefore propose in the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 1999 that the same arrangement be adopted for the second LegCo election.
At the election held in May 1998, there are 16 candidates who are not of Chinese nationality or who have the right of abode in other places among the 27 candidates running in the 12 specified FCs. As for elected LegCo Members, 5 out of 12 Members in the 12 specified FCs are not of Chinese nationality or have the right of abode in other places.
To consult the exempted societies and non-profit making companies which have been registered as electors for the Social Welfare FC and might be affected by the Hon Eric Li's proposed amendments to the delineation of the FC electorate.
We are consulting those electors and will revert to the Bills Committee soon.
To comment on the paper prepared by the Legal Adviser on the Election Committee provided for in Annexes I and II of the Basic Law.
We note the advice given by the Legal Adviser. Nevertheless, as we have pointed out at previous Bills Committee meetings, the Legislative Council (Amendment) Bill 1999 aims to provide for the election of the second term Legislative Council. For the second term Legislative Council, 6 Members are to be returned by an Election Committee. The Bill therefore provides for the establishment of the Election Committee to be responsible for returning the 6 Members. The Bill is in full conformity with the provisions in the Basic Law.
As to whether this Election Committee will be the same Election Committee responsible for the election of the second term Chief Executive, this will be dealt with in separate legislation providing for the election of the Chief Executive. We will ensure that the bill providing for the election of the Chief Executive will not contravene the provisions of the Basic Law.
To advise which body is responsible for selecting the Chief Executive if his office becomes vacant in 1999, 2001 or 2003.
Article 53 of the Basic Law stipulates that in the event an office of the Chief Executive becomes vacant, a new Chief Executive shall be selected within 6 months in accordance with the provisions of Article 45. The specific method for selection of the Chief Executive is set out in Annex I. A bill to provide for the election of the Chief Executive will be introduced into LegCo in due course and we will ensure that the bill conforms with the relevant provisions in the Basic Law.
To reconsider the arrangements for advance polling having regard to Members' views expressed at the meeting.
We would consider carefully the valuable views put forward by Members at the meeting on 31 May on the arrangements for advance polling when we make the relevant subsidiary legislation.
Among the views, one concerns whether the electors should be allowed to vote on the advance polling day without prior application. This may affect the provisions of the Bill. We believe Members will agree that the objective of introducing advance polling is to allow individual electors who cannot vote on the general polling day to vote in advance. It is not intended to provide one more general polling day. As such, we consider that requiring the electors to go through a simple application procedure before they can vote on the advance polling day is a reasonable arrangement.
This is the first time advance polling is ever introduced into the electoral arrangements in Hong Kong. Without past experience, it will be difficult for us to estimate the number of electors who would make use of the advance polling arrangement. We therefore propose to introduce a pilot scheme of advance polling in the 2000 LegCo election. We propose to set up a simple application procedure so that we can know in advance the number of electors who will make use of the arrangement. Suitable manpower deployment and other necessary arrangements can then be made. This is to ensure that the polling process on the advance polling day can go smoothly and without delay. We will review the pilot scheme after the 2000 election.
Nevertheless, we note Members' concern about the possible inconvenience which the application procedure might bring to the electors. We will examine how to simplify the procedure to avoid causing undue inconvenience to the electors concerned, and will discuss with Members our proposals when making the relevant subsidiary legislation.
To advise whether a Member's proposals to restructure the FC system and to use the list system of proportional representation for the EC election are likely to have a charging effect.
The Member raised this point at the meeting on 25 May. We have already provided our response (see item 9 in LC Paper CB(2) 2135/98-99(01)). The Member has provided further information for our consideration.
We responded to the proposed CSA in relation to the structure of the FC system in September 1997. Under the proposed CSA, every GC elector will be entitled to vote in each of the five FCs, in addition to his GC vote. The number of FC electors would increase substantially. Government would have to incur substantial additional costs to provide free service for each FC candidate to mail two rounds of letters to each elector. We were of the view that the proposed CSA would have a charging effect. We maintain the same view.
It is our preliminary assessment that the proposed CSA which seeks to apply the proportional representation system to the EC election may not have a charging effect.