Home LATEST NEWS Hong Kong appoints its Legislative Council now reserved for “patriots”

Hong Kong appoints its Legislative Council now reserved for “patriots”

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Each of the 153 candidates, in order to be allowed to run for office, had to give pledges of political loyalty to China and to patriotism.

As a result, pro-democracy activists have been barred from running, or have waived them, when not in prison or on the run abroad, and most candidates display a similar profile.

Of the 90 seats in the Legislative Council (the LegCo), only 20 are to be provided by universal suffrage, half less than before, the remainder being appointed by various committees and interest groups vested in the Chinese regime.

The only real unknown in the ballot will therefore be the turnout, a thermometer of the adherence of Hong Kongers to the new electoral system.

The new rules were imposed by Beijing as part of Hong Kong’s takeover after the gigantic pro-democracy protests of 2019.

All Hong Kong people of voting age, or about 4.5 million people out of a total population of 7.5 million, can vote.

Towards low participation

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her ministers have stepped up calls to go to the polls. The government published advertising pages in newspapers, distributed leaflets in mailboxes and sent massive text messages reminding Hong Kong people to vote. Public transport is free during election day.

Despite these efforts, the latest polls predict an attendance of around 48%, which would be a historically low figure.

Along with her calls for a vote, Ms. Lam also asserted before the ballot that a low turnout would not wouldn’t mean anything.

When the government does it right and its credibility is strong, voter turnout is lower because people don’t really feel the need to choose new representatives., she told Chinese state media last week.

Recent independent polls put Ms. Lam’s popularity rating at around 36%.

theLegCo“,” text “:” LegCo “}} ‘>The Legislative Council. is the body responsible for passing laws in the former British colony, whose legal system remains distinct from that of mainland China.

Chinese influence

Even if the established figures in Beijing have always been granted the majority of seats on the Council, a minority of opponents was once tolerated there, which made it a place of often very lively debates. The new rules imposed by Beijing put an end to this tradition.

More than a dozen elected during the previous election in 2016 are currently in prison under a draconian law on national security imposed by Beijing last year, and three fled abroad.

Beijing claims that this electoral system improved will eradicate the elements anti-chinese, and ensure that theLegCo“,” text “:” LegCo “}} ‘>The Legislative Council., where debates could once be long and heated, will adopt the new laws more quickly.

It is legal in Hong Kong to abstain or to vote blank or null. On the other hand, encouraging these practices has been a criminal offense since this year.

Ten people have been arrested under the new law, mainly for boycott calls launched on social networks, and arrest warrants have been issued against pro-democracy activists who have taken refuge abroad who have also called to shun the ballot box. .

Police deployed more than 10,000 officers to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday to prevent any incidents.

In a symbolic gesture, the authorities replaced the official seal of Hong Kong in the hemicycle of theLegCo“,” text “:” LegCo “}} ‘>The Legislative Council. with the emblem of the People’s Republic of China.

They said it was a temporary measure, in anticipation of swearing-in ceremonies for new council members next month.

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