One in three nominees in the Sept. 4 Legislative Council elections has refused to sign a declaration to uphold the Basic Law.
The Registration and Electoral Office (REO) said it received 33 applications on Saturday, the start of a two-week nomination period, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
Nearly a third did not sign the declaration which also includes a pledge of allegiance to the Hong Kong government.
The declaration, announced Thursday by the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), quickly came under fire as an attempt by the government to weed out pro-independence candidates.
EAC, which called the declaration a solemn act, said only nominees who signed the form are valid candidates.
But REO said the declaration is not part of the nomination form and all nominations will processed.
The Democratic Party and several of its allies have said their nominees will not sign the declaration.
Labor Party chairwoman Suzanne Wu said such a pledge is unnecessary.
Pan-democrats are scheduled to meet with EAC chairman Barnabas Fung to demand the retraction of the requirement.
Edward Leung of the localist group Hong Kong Indigenous, who is running in New Territories East after losing in the Feb. 28 by-election, refused to sign the declaration when he filed his candidacy on Saturday.
A spokesman for the pro-independence Hong Kong National Party, whose convenor Andy Chan Ho-tin plans to file his candidacy on Monday, said none of its nominees will sign the declaration.
Alvin Cheng of the radical political group Civic Passion is the only non-establishment candidate who has signed the pledge.
But he said he will continue to promote his pro-independence agenda.
Peking University law professor Rao Geping, a member of the Hong Kong Basic Law Committee, said the declaration is a political requirement that is consistent with the Basic Law and the Chinese constitution.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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