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Monday, September 5, 2016, 00:36

LegCo election went smoothly: CE

By chinadailyasia.com
LegCo election went smoothly: CE
Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung casts his vote at a polling station in Raimondi College, C entral, in the city' s 2016 Legislative Council Election on Sept 4, 2016. (Roy Liu / China Daily)

HONG KONG - Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying issued a statement about an hour after polls to pick a new legislature closed, saying members of the public had actively participated in the voting and that it went smoothly overall.

As of 9:30 pm, more than 1,986,000 voters have cast their ballots. Turnout rate was 52.57 percent - 4 percentage point higher as compared to the same time last year.

Some voters were still waiting in queues to cast their ballots at some polling stations as polls closed at 10:30 pm on Sunday.

"I extend my sincere gratitude to the Electoral Affairs Commission, the Registration and Electoral Office and all relevant government departments and staff involved in facilitating the orderly conduct of the election in an open, fair and honest manner, and in strict accordance with the relevant legislation and electoral guidelines," Leung said in the statement.

Polls opened at 7:30 am as voters chose 70 representatives to sit on the Legislative Council for the next four years.

Leung cast his ballot early, reminding voters as he did so, that it is a free vote. He urged people to cast their ballots according to their preferences, adding, that is the heart of the Hong Kong democracy.

Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor cast her vote at the Peak. She called on voters to cast their ballots with full confidence in Hong Kong’s future.

LegCo election went smoothly: CE
Voters wait in line to cast their ballots at a polling station in Tai Koo, Hong Kong, Sept 4, 2016. (Parker Zheng/China Daily)

Stressing the important constitutional functions of the Legislative Council, Lam commented that there has been increasing confrontation in recent years, with the result that many issues associated with the people’s standards of living have become stalled, while others have died.

"Indifference will not lead us anywhere,” appealed Lam.

Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen cast his vote at a polling station at Sai Ying Pun. Tam praised Hong Kong’s election as a critical event that has always been known to be among the most fair, open and honest in the world.

The Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) received 1,088 election-related complaints by 3 pm on Sunday, EAC chairman Barnabas Fung-wah said.

Fung, speaking to the media at a polling station at the Kowloon Park Sports Centre, noted that most complaints were about election advertisements posted in unauthorized areas, and about voter qualification irregularities.

There were additional complaints filed on line, related to damaged ballots. Fung said a corner cut on one side of the ballot was placed intentionally to help the visually-impaired voters to determine the front of the ballot.

Fung urged registered voters to go to vote soon and not to wait till the very last minutes.

LegCo election went smoothly: CE
A couple stands in front of a polling station sign before polls open for the Legislative Council election in Hong Kong on Sept 4, 2016. Over 3.7 million Hong Kong residents registered to vote in the election. (Anthony Wallace / AFP)

Asked about efforts by some to allocate votes on social media, Fung said if there is cost involved, the allocation must have the approval of the candidates in question – because the spending would be tallied as part of the individual candidate’s overall campaign expenses. Allocation is otherwise forbidden, without the express permission of the candidates, said Fung.

More than 3.7 million eligible voters were eligible to cast ballots from 7:30 am to 10:30 pm. The 70 members of the Legislative Council are comprised of 35 lawmakers, elected from five geographic constituencies, and another 30 from traditional, functional constituencies in different trades. There also are five “super seats.” A total of 84  candidates' teams – a record high – will contest the 35 geographic constituencies.

Voters who are not registered in the traditional functional constituencies are entitled to cast ballots for the super seats. Results are expected early on Monday.

LegCo election went smoothly: CE
A couple stands in front of a polling station sign before polls open for the Legislative Council election in Hong Kong on Sept 4, 2016. Over 3.7 million Hong Kong residents registered to vote in the election. (Anthony Wallace / AFP)

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