Edward Yiu and Agnes Chow demand confirmation of candidacies

January 26, 2018 12:58
Pan-democrats want election officials to decide now whether two of their candidates, Edward Yiu and Agnes Chow, are qualified to run in the Legco by-elections. Photo: Bloomberg/HKEJ

Two candidates of the pan-democratic camp in the Legislative Council by-elections scheduled for March 11 demanded that the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) confirm their qualification to run by Friday, adding that there is no justifiable reason for them to be disqualified, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Dr. Edward Yiu Chung-yim, former lawmaker from the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape functional constituency, won the democrats' Kowloon West primary on Jan. 14.

Agnes Chow Ting, a standing committee member of the pro-democracy party Demosistō, was chosen by the democrats as their candidate for a seat in the Hong Kong Island geographical constituency.

While both have registered as candidates, the EAC has yet to confirm their qualification to run.

Several news outlets, citing unnamed sources, said on Thursday that the duo will be barred from running and they will be notified before the nomination period ends on Monday.

The sources said the poll body will not approve Yiu’s candidacy for a seat in the current Legco because he was stripped of his seat last July after his oath-taking was invalidated. As for Chow, she is also seen not qualified to run as she is considered as an advocate of Hong Kong self-determination.

Yiu and Chow have filed their applications with the Registration and Electoral Office to join the by-elections but have not received any reply from the office, their campaign teams said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The two had been told by legal experts that there is no basis for them to be disqualified.

In response to their request for confirmation, the EAC said it is solely the electoral officer in charge who will decide whether a candidate is qualified to run based on relevant rules, although the officer can seek legal opinions from the Nomination Advisory Committee or other means at his or her discretion.

Meanwhile, several pan-democratic lawmakers met with Chief Electoral Officer Wong See-man on Thursday, asking him to clarify the criteria being used in determining a candidate’s qualification.

Civic Party lawmaker Tanya Chan Suk-chong quoted Wong as saying after the meeting that none of the electoral officers of the three geographical constituencies to hold by-elections, including Hong Kong Island, Kowloon West and New Territories East, has sought legal opinions from the Nominations Advisory Committee but they have sought opinions from the Department of Justice.

Wong, according to Chan, said he will confirm all of the candidates’ qualifications by next Wednesday as a briefing session is scheduled to be held the following day.

In a related development, the Democratic Party said it will support its member Ramon Yuen Hoi-man, who is also a Sham Shui Po District Council member, to run for the Kowloon West seat should Yiu be barred from running.

Although Yuen came third in the primary, he is set to be Yiu’s replacement as former lawmaker Frederick Fung Kin-kee, who came in second, decided to withdraw as a back-up candidate.

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