Date
21 October 2018
The Electoral Affairs Commission, chaired by Justice Barnabas Fung Wah (center), stressed that there is absolutely no political consideration involved its recommendations. Photo: HKEJ
The Electoral Affairs Commission, chaired by Justice Barnabas Fung Wah (center), stressed that there is absolutely no political consideration involved its recommendations. Photo: HKEJ

EAC seeks to add more seats, adjust boundaries for DC elections

The Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) has released its provisional recommendations on the boundaries and names of the 452 proposed constituencies for the District Council (DC) elections scheduled for November next year.

In the 2015 elections, Hong Kong was divided into 431 District Council Constituency Areas (DCCAs), with each DCCA returning one DC member.

Under the EAC’s recommendations announced on Monday, 21 new DCCAs will be created in 2019, bringing the total number of DC members to 452, while the boundaries of 128 existing DCCAs will be adjusted, including those in Yuen Long, Kwun Tong, Sham Shui Po and Sha Tin.

Of the 21 new seats proposed by the EAC, four will be in Yuen long, while Sha Tin and Kwun Tong will each see three more DC members, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The commission said the Electoral Affairs Commission Ordinance requires it to review the existing boundaries of the DC constituencies and conduct public consultation on its provisional recommendations.

The law also requires it to submit a report to the chief executive within 36 months after the preceding DC elections, which were held on Nov. 22, 2015, which means the report must be submitted by Nov. 21 this year, the EAC said.

In a press conference on Monday, EAC Chairman Justice Barnabas Fung Wah the population quota for the 2019 DC elections is 16,599 people per constituency, which is calculated by dividing the total projected population of Hong Kong in mid-2019, which is 7,502,600, by the 452 elected seats in the election.

Since the population in a constituency, according to the law, should not exceed or fall below the population quota by more than 25 percent, the permissible range will be between 12,449 and 20,749 people for each constituency, Fung said.

The EAC wants to ensure not only that their projected population will fall within the statutory range but also that other statutory factors are met, including community identities, preservation of local ties and physical features of the areas.

A 30-day public consultation on the recommendations began on Monday and will last until Aug. 21. Written representations on the proposed boundaries and names may be submitted to the Commission’s Secretariat by post, fax or email.

In addition, two public forums will be held by the EAC to gather opinions on Aug. 1 and Aug. 3.

After the announcement, quite a number of incumbent DC members expressed their discontent with the changes, saying they are unnecessary and will have a negative impact on their re-election efforts because they may lose their existing supporters after the re-zoning.

Some even suspected that the EAC’s move was intended to diminish the chances of pan-democratic candidates getting elected by implicitly helping their pro-establishment competitors, although Fung stressed there is absolutely no political consideration involved.

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TL/JC/CG

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