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Saturday, September 3, 2016, 21:12

Too late to quit the election race, says EAC chair

By Shadow Li

HONG KONG - The Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission, Justice Barnabas Fung Wah, said on Saturday the candidates claiming to withdraw from the race to the city’s legislature will still have their names on the ballot as

He said voters can still vote for the several opposition camp candidates who pulled out of the contest since Friday evening, less than 40 hours before voting for the Legislative Council (LegCo) election begins early Sunday morning. While candidates could stop electioneering, they would still be bound by all election rules, Fung added.

The sudden withdrawal by five candidates from the opposition camp was followed by one more on Saturday. The candidate, who was running for a “super seat” in the District Council (Second) constituency, hinted that the opposition camp forced him to cease electioneering.

The pro-establishment camp has condemned the decisions of some of their rivals to step down, calling the move as “irresponsible to voters” and “disrespectful of the law and the election”.

The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong’s (DAB) chairman and super seat candidate Starry Lee Wai-king criticized the pull-out by the opposition camp as “deceptive”, as those who announced their withdrawal from the election race remained valid candidates, eligible to draw the votes on Sunday.

Another of DAB’s super seat candidate, Holden Chow Ho-ding, said the opposition camp’s move made his election prospects more perilous.

Veteran unionist from the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, Wong Kwok-hing, lodged a complaint with the city’s anti-corruption watchdog, Independent Commission Against Corruption, regarding the sudden dropouts. The two-term lawmaker said it is unusual for so many candidates to claim to drop out of the race 36 hours before the voting starts.

New People’s Party, who have fielded three candidate teams to contest for the next LegCo term, expressed disappointment on Saturday about the opposition camp's mass drop-outs. Stressing on the gravity and solemnity of a LegCo election, the party said candidates aspiring to serve society should be striving hard to win voters' support through campaigning.

By wanting to quit almost at the last minute these candidates have shown their disrespect towards this election, besides abandoning their supporters and voters, read the party's statement.

There are nine valid candidates contesting in the District Council (Second) functional constituency. They are Lee Wai-king, Chow Ho-ding, Wong Kwok-hing, Chan Yuen-sum, Leung Yiu-chung, To Kun-sun, Kwong Chun-yu, Ho Kai-ming and Kwan Wing-yip.

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