The Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) has barred two nominees of localist groups from running in next month’s Legislative Council election, saying the candidates failed to pass muster in relation to a requirement to uphold the city’s Basic Law.
Chan Ho-tin, convenor of Hong Kong National Party (HKNP), a pro-independence group founded in March this year, was informed Saturday that his bid for stand for a seat in the New Territories West constituency has been turned down.
A day later, Yeung Ke-cheong, president of the Democratic Progressive Party that was formed in December 2015 to push for self-determination of Hongkongers, learnt that his candidacy too has been rejected, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.
Yeung had sought to run for a seat in the Kowloon West constituency for the Legco election.
The applications of Chan and Yeung were rejected after the EAC last month introduced a new rule under which all election candidates must sign a new declaration to uphold the Basic law – the city’s mini-constitution – and recognize that Hong Kong is an inalienable part of China.
Anyone who fail to do so could face disqualification, the EAC warned.
The move was seen by observers as aimed at preventing people who advocate self-determination or independence for Hong Kong from running in the election.
In a notification letter sent to Chan on Saturday, a day after the nomination period ended for the Sept. 4 Legco polls, an electoral officer told the activist that his application was rejected on the basis on his political platform and the comments made by him after submission of the nomination form.
Though Chan signed the new declaration as required by the EAC, his comments showed that he was still rooting for Hong Kong independence and abolishment of the Basic law, the electoral officer said.
Responding to the news, Chan slammed the decision as being unreasonable and marking a violation of his rights.
He, however, told RTHK that the decision of the authorities was not entirely unexpected.
The decision was political and has nothing to do with law, he said, adding that the government will not be able to stop activists like him who have different political views.
In addition to moves for judicial review on the EAC’s decision, Chan vowed to launch a series of campaigns to defend his right to run in the election.
He said he plans to hold a rally in front of the Government Headquarters at Admiralty this Friday and also write letters to the United Nations, the British government and international human rights organizations to draw their attention to the matter.
Chan Yung, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People’s Congress, said he is concerned that the controversy could have a negative effect on the pro-establishment camp in the upcoming election.
He added that he hopes the incident does not prompt the NPC to offer an interpretation of Hong Kong’s Basic Law.
Any such initiative will make Hong Kong society even more divided, he said.
Benny Tai Yiu Ting, an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong and co-founder of the 2014 Occupy Central movement, said the NPC has no right to launch an interpretation of Hong Kong’s law.
In other comments, Tai said he believes that HKNP’s Chan is likely to succeed in demanding for a re-election if he files for a judicial review.
Yeung, who planned to run in the Kowloon West constituency, was notified Sunday evening by an electoral officer that his nomination was invalid because he refused to sign the declaration and as his party has been calling for self-determination for Hong Kong.
The moves suggest that the candidate doesn’t intend to uphold the Basic Law, the officer said.
Yeung said he will consider seeking a judicial review. Meanwhile, he also plans to stage a protest on Tuesday when an event will be held for introduction of Legco candidates.
The activist urged other localist groups to join him in the protest.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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