Presidium empaneled to run upcoming HK vote

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A high-level presidium was elected at a meeting on Wednesday in Hong Kong to host the coming election of the city's representatives to China's top legislature, the National People's Congress.

The 19 members of the presidium are being chaired by Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Other members include Tung Chee-hwa and Leung Chun-ying, both former Hong Kong chief executives and vice-chairmen of the country's top political advisory body-the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee.

Wednesday's meeting opened the official procedure of Hong Kong's fifth NPC election since the SAR's return to China. Thirty-six new deputies will be elected on Dec 19.

Wang Chen, vice-chairman and secretary-general of the 12th NPC Standing Committee, said at the meeting that the election is an embodiment of the "one country, two systems" principle and a sign that Hong Kong residents are an integral part of the country.

He stressed that the most important quality for Hong Kong NPC delegates is to have national interest and patriotism at heart.

Wang reiterated the central government's "zero tolerance" for any form of separatist advocates.

Delegates may in no way participate in acts that jeopardize national sovereignty and security or challenge the central government's authority during the election, he said, as such actions would violate the central government's "bottom line".

Hong Kong deputies are "irreplaceable" in improving the country's domestic affairs, Wang said. He added that the election is of "special importance", considering that President Xi Jinping elaborated at the 19th CPC National Congress in October on the new challenges China faces in the new era.

Wang also hoped that the incoming NPC delegates would be satisfactory to Hong Kong residents and bring the city to new heights. A total of 1,462 of 1,989 electors attended the first plenary meeting of the electoral council of the 13th NPC election and elected the presidium. The nomination period runs from Friday through Dec 4.

The presidium will be in charge of announcing nominations and verifying qualifications.

The electors representing various sectors of the SAR each could nominate no more than 36 candidates, excluding themselves. Candidates who have received more than 10 nominations are qualified to run.

Among the changes in this election, Hong Kong delegate candidates have to swear allegiance to China's Constitution and may not have received any form of election donation from foreign institutions, organizations or individuals.

The term of current NPC delegates expires in March 2018.

The 2,987 national legislators began their five-year term in February 2013.

Hong Kong's current 36 delegates have proposed four bills and so far made 751 suggestions during the five annual NPC sessions regarding national development and people's livelihoods.

They have also conducted field surveys in various provinces on the Chinese mainland.

Facts about election of National People's Congress delegates

Candidates should:

・Be Chinese citizens over 18 who are residents of Hong Kong

・Uphold China's Constitution and swear allegiance to the country

・Uphold the "one country, two systems" principle

・Uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

・Declare there has been no receipt of financial aid of any kind relating to the election from any foreign parties

Election procedure:

・Members of the HKSAR 13th NPC Electoral Council each will nominate up to 36 people between Nov 24 and Dec 4.

・Candidates, who should file the registration form and nomination letters by Dec 4, need over 10 nominations from the Electoral Council to pass the threshold.

・The presidium will review the eligibility of the candidates before election day on Dec 19.

・The number of candidates should outnumber the 36 deputy vacancies.

・On Dec 19, NPC deputies will be elected by secret ballot; each voter has to vote for 36 candidates.

・Candidates who receive more than half the votes will be deemed elected.

・Results of the election will be announced by the Presidium and reported to the Credentials Committee of the NPC Standing Committee.

・The NPC Standing Committee will confirm the qualification of the deputies and announce the name list of NPC deputies.

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