Edward Leung Tin-kei (梁天琦), a prominent member of the localist group Hong Kong Indigenous, has seen his bid to run for a seat in the upcoming Legislative Council election get rejected by local authorities.
Leung was disqualified by a returning officer even though he had signed the controversial new declaration form introduced by the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC), according to RTHK.
The young political activist had sought to run for a seat in the New Territories East constituency, the same place where he fought a by-election earlier this year.
Though he lost the February by-election, Leung won a lot of attention as he secured more than 60,000 votes, pointing to the growing appeal of his political platform.
Leung had earlier advocated Hong Kong independence, but signaled a change of stance last week when he agreed to sign a declaration to uphold the Basic law and accept China’s rights over Hong Kong.
Despite that, his application was rejected, as the returning officer apparently had some misgivings.
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 fails to do so could face disqualification, the election watchdog warned.
Critics have slammed the new rule as a kind of political censorship aimed at stopping people with pro-independence leanings from participating in the September Legco election.
Leung said he hasn’t been given any reason for the rejection of his candidacy.
Apart from Leung, another localist candidate — James Chan Kwok-keung (陳國強) — was also denied permission to run in the polls, RTHK reported Tuesday.
However, Baggio Leung Chung-hang (梁頌恆) of Youngspiration, was accepted as a candidate.
Hong Kong Indigenous had announced earlier that it will support Baggio Leung if Edward Leung is barred from the election.
The EAC had earlier disqualified four other candidates from next month’s polls.
Among those barred were Andy Chan Ho-tin (陳浩天), convenor of Hong Kong National Party (HKNP) and Yeung Ke-cheong (楊繼昌), president of the Democratic Progressive Party.
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