Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil by-elec­tion sched­uled for March

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - FRONT PAGE - By WILLA WU in Hong Kong willa@chi­nadai­lyhk.com

The Elec­toral Af­fairs Com­mis­sion on Thurs­day said Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil by-elec­tions will be held on March 11 next year to fill seats va­cated af­ter four law­mak­ers were dis­qual­i­fied for vi­o­lat­ing the le­gal re­quire­ments of oath-tak­ing when swear­ing in.

The seats in­clude three from ge­o­graph­i­cal con­stituen­cies — Hong Kong Is­land, Kowloon West and New Ter­ri­to­ries East. They were pre­vi­ously held by Nathan Law Kwun-chung, Yau Wai-ching and Six­tus Le­ung Chung-hang, re­spec­tively.

The other seat is in the Ar­chi­tec­tural, Sur­vey­ing, Plan­ning and Land­scape func­tional con­stituency, which was orig­i­nally taken by Ed­ward Yiu Chung-yim.

The com­mis­sion also noted in its writ­ten state­ment that the nom­i­na­tion pe­riod for the by-elec­tion will be pub­lished in the Gov­ern­ment Gazette soon.

Ac­cord­ing to the elec­toral laws, the nom­i­na­tion pe­riod of the LegCo by-elec­tion must not last less than 14 days or more than 21 days, and must end not less than 28 days and not more than 42 days be­fore the polling day.

A com­mis­sion spokesman said the time for polling was set af­ter tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion man­power re­sources, pro­cure­ment of venues for polling and count­ing votes, pub­lic hol­i­days and proper use of pub­lic money.

The four dis­qual­i­fied law­mak­ers were all ruled by the High Court to have vi­o­lated the Ba­sic Law of and the lo­cal or­di­nance con­cern­ing the oath-tak­ing process when as­sum­ing of­fice.

Yau and Le­ung were dis­qual­i­fied by the High Court in Novem­ber last year for us­ing deroga­tory lan­guage in­sult­ing the coun­try. The pair’s fi­nal ap­peal against their dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion was re­jected by the Court of Fi­nal Ap­peal in Au­gust.

In July, the High Court dis­qual­i­fied Law and Yiu as LegCo mem­bers as Yiu had added words to his oath and Law changed his tone when pledg­ing al­le­giance to China to make it sound like a ques­tion.

Be­sides the four, LegCo has also gazetted that two seats, pre­vi­ously held by Le­ung Kwok-hung and Lau Siu-lai, were va­cant. The pair was dis­qual­i­fied as Le­ung chanted po­lit­i­cal slo­gans and Lau de­lib­er­ately read her oath with a six-sec­ond in­ter­val af­ter each word dur­ing the swear­ing-in cer­e­mony.

Le­ung and Lau ap­pealed against their dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tions on Mon­day.

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