New electoral form sparks fresh debate

http://news.rthk.hk/rthk/en/component/k2/1274634-20160724.htm

The new election form requiring candidates to uphold Hong Kong as part of China has drawn criticism from a legal group which says it’s overstepping the mark, but a local National People’s Congress deputy says electoral officials are entitled to decide if a nomination is valid.

Speaking at an RTHK forum, the convenor of the Progressive Lawyers Group, Kevin Yam, said no candidates should be barred from taking part in an election just because he or she advocated independence.

Mr Yam said the new form is unnecessary – because an existing form already requires candidates to declare they uphold the Basic Law.

“I think a lot of us are flabbergasted as to why there is a requirement to sign this confirmation form because, in effect, you are asking someone to swear that something they have sworn on previously is true,” Yam said.

“It’s actually circuitous and tautological and makes no sense whatsoever.”

But Miriam Lau, a local deputy to the National People’s Congress, said the declaration form does not have any legal standing, as it is not part of the Legco nomination form.

Speaking at the same forum, Lau said electoral officers have the right to decide whether a nomination is valid – and whether a candidate is pushing for Hong Kong’s independence should also be considered.

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