Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 1:
Constitution and Administration
Role of the Chief Executive
The System of Government
- Executive Council
The System of Government
- Legislative Council
The System of Government
- District Administration
The Electoral System
HKSAR's External Affairs
Working Relationship of the HKSARG with the MFA Office
Working Relationship with the Mainland Authorities
Office of the HKSAR Government in Beijing
Advisory and Statutory Bodies
Structure of the Administration
Official Languages
Government Records Service
Office of The Ombudsman
Office of the Director of Audit
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The Electoral System

Electoral System for the Legislative Council

The composition of the first three terms of the Legislative Council as set out in the Basic Law is as follows:

  Membership First term
Second term
Third term
(a) elected by geographical constituencies through direct elections 20 24 30
(b) elected by functional constituencies 30 30 30
(c) elected by an election committee 10 6
    60 60 60

Geographical Constituency

Geographical constituency elections are held on the basis of universal suffrage. All eligible persons aged 18 or above have the right to be registered as electors and to vote in the elections. There are currently about 3 million registered electors.

The HKSAR is divided into five geographical constituencies of four to eight seats in the third term of the Legislative Council. Voters choose lists of candidates, using the List Voting System which operates under the Largest Remainder formula, a form of proportional representation. Under this system, each list may consist of any number of candidates up to the number of seats in the relevant constituency. An elector is entitled to cast one vote for a list in the constituency in which he or she is registered. The seats for the constituency are distributed among the lists according to the number of votes they get.

Any permanent resident of the HKSAR who is a Chinese citizen with no right of abode in any foreign country may stand for election in any geographical constituency, provided that he or she is a registered elector on the Final Register, has attained the age of 21, and has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for the preceding three years.

Functional Constituency

Each functional constituency represents an economic, social, or professional group important to the HKSAR. For the third-term Legislative Council, these are: (1) Heung Yee Kuk; (2) agriculture and fisheries; (3) insurance; (4) transport; (5) education; (6) legal; (7) accountancy; (8) medical; (9) health services; (10) engineering; (11) architectural, surveying and planning; (12) labour; (13) social welfare; (14) real estate and construction; (15) tourism; (16) commercial (first); (17) commercial (second); (18) industrial (first); (19) industrial (second); (20) finance; (21) financial services; (22) sports, performing arts, culture and publication; (23) import and export; (24) textiles and garment; (25) wholesale and retail; (26) information technology; (27) catering; and (28) District Council. The labour functional constituency returns three Legislative Council members, while the other 27 functional constituencies return one member each.

The electorate of functional constituencies which represent professional groups is generally based on membership of professions with well-established and recognised qualifications, including statutory qualifications. Each individual member has one vote. The electorate of functional constituencies representing economic or social groups is generally made up of corporate members of major organisations representative of the relevant sectors. Each corporate member appoints an authorised representative to cast the vote on its behalf in an election.

To become a candidate in the functional constituencies, one must satisfy the same age and residential requirements as in a geographical constituency election, be a registered elector on the Final Register, and also a registered elector of or have a substantial connection with the relevant functional constituency. To give due recognition to the significant contribution made by foreign nationals and the fact that Hong Kong is an international city and to meet the requirement of the relevant provision in the Basic Law, permanent residents of the HKSAR who are not of Chinese nationality or who have the right of abode in foreign countries may stand for election in 12 designated functional constituencies (functional constituencies No. 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23 as above).

Electoral System for the Chief Executive

In accordance with the Basic Law, the Chief Executive shall be elected by an Election Committee (EC). The EC is composed of 800 members from four sectors (which are in turn composed of 38 subsectors), comprising :

  664 members of 35 subsectors who are returned through elections;
96 ex officio members who are Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC) and members of the Legislative Council (LegCo)) under the NPC subsector and the LegCo subsector; and
40 members under the religious subsector who are nominated by six designated bodies.

The 2006 EC subsector elections were held on December 10, 2006. The new EC, with its term of office commencing on February 1, 2007, will elect the third term Chief Executive on March 25, 2007. The term of office of the third term Chief Executive will commence on July 1, 2007.

Implementing Universal Suffrage for the Chief Executive and the Legislative Council

The Basic Law provides that the ultimate aim is the selection of the Chief Executive by universal suffrage upon nomination by a broadly representative nominating committee in accordance with democratic procedures and also the election of all the members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage. According to the Basic Law, this aim is to be attained in accordance with the principle of gradual and orderly progress and in the light of the actual situation in Hong Kong.

The Government is firmly committed to promoting constitutional development in accordance with the Basic Law. The Chief Executive has been personally leading the Commission on Strategic Development to study the formulation of a roadmap for universal suffrage. Commission membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the community and includes people from different political backgrounds. In May 2006, the commission had completed discussion on the principles and concepts about universal suffrage, and drew conclusions that, in implementing universal suffrage, we should comply with the following four principles:

(i)addressing the interests of different sectors of society;
(ii)facilitating the development of the capitalist economy;
(iii) gradual and orderly progress; and
(iv) meeting the actual situation in the HKSAR.

The work of the commission has entered a new stage. Since July 2006, the commission has been engaging in substantive discussion on possible models for selecting the Chief Executive and for forming the Legislative Council by universal suffrage, including how to form a nominating committee according to the Basic Law to nominate Chief Executive candidates for election through universal suffrage, and how the current 30 functional constituency seats should be dealt with, so as to return the Legislative Council through universal suffrage.

Electoral System for the District Councils

Eighteen District Councils were established in the HKSAR to advise the Government on district affairs and to promote recreational and cultural activities, and environmental improvements within the districts. A District Council is composed of elected members, appointed members, and, in the case of District Councils in rural areas, the chairmen of rural committees as ex officio members. The simple majority voting system is adopted for elections. For the second-term councils (2004-07), the HKSAR was divided into 400 constituencies, each represented by one elected member.

Electoral Affairs Commission

The Electoral Affairs Commission, an independent statutory body, is responsible for ensuring that elections in the HKSAR are conducted openly, honestly, fairly and in accordance with the law. It comprises three politically neutral persons appointed by the Chief Executive and is headed by a High Court judge. The commission is responsible for making recommendations to the Chief Executive on the delineation of geographical constituencies and District Council constituencies, making regulations on practical arrangements for the Chief Executive election, the Legislative Council election, the District Council election and rural elections, and handling complaints relating to these elections. The Registration and Electoral Office, a government department headed by the Chief Electoral Officer, works under the commission's direction and carries out its decisions.

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