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Monday, August 1, 2016, 19:21

Govt condemns attacks on returning officers

By chinadailyasia.com

HONG KONG - The SAR government condemned recent personal attacks and threats against returning officers, urging peaceful and rational behavior in the upcoming Legislative Council elections.

The government stressed that all related departments have been working in accordance with the Basic Law and relevant legislation. The actions taken and to be taken are to ensure the elections are conducted in an "open, fair and honest manner".

This came after three separatist candidates were disqualified from running in the elections after they refused to take the pledge to uphold the city’s constitutional document, the Basic Law.

The invalidation of Democratic Progressive Party of Hong Kong member Yeung Ke-cheong’s candidacy in Kowloon West on Monday came one day after Chan Ho-tin, convener of the “Hong Kong National Party”, was banned from the race by the Electoral Affairs Commission for “violating the Basic Law”.

Section 40(1)(b) of the Legislative Council Ordinance states that a person’s candidacy will not be validated unless his nomination form includes a declaration that he will uphold the Basic Law and pledges allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

“Localism” supporters had exposed personal information of a returning officer in the New Territories West on Facebook, while some even made intimidating remarks and threatened to take action. They also vowed to storm the briefing session for candidates for the 2016 LegCo election which was scheduled on Tuesday.

A government spokesperson voiced strong condemnation against such acts, stressing that the police are highly concerned about the matter and will take appropriate action in accordance with the law.

"The Electoral Affairs Commission, the returning officers, the Registration and Electoral Office and all officers responsible for electoral affairs have been handling election-related matters in strict accordance with the Basic Law and relevant legislation," the spokesman said. "This is to ensure that elections are conducted in an open, fair and honest manner."

The spokesperson also appealed to all people taking part in election-related activities to act in a "peaceful, rational and law-abiding manner" and to accord respect to others. "Organizers and law enforcement authorities will follow up and take resolute action should anyone disrupt order or do any unlawful acts during these activities," the spokesman said.

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