|Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung casts his vote at a polling station in Raimondi College, Central, in the city's 2016 Legislative Council Election on Sept 4, 2016. (Photo by Roy Liu / China Daily)|
HONG KONG - Voting started in Hong Kong at 7:30 am on Sunday for the electorate to pick a new legislature in what many consider the most crucial LegCo vote since the handover. Polls are open as voters choose seventy representatives to sit on the Legislative Council for the next four years.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, cast his ballot early, reminding voters as he did so, that it’s 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.
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.
Complaints about election irregularities mounted quickly after polls opened at 7:30 this morning, with 186 election related-complaints brought to authorities by 9 am, reported Barnabas Fung, the Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission, on Sunday. Most complaints involved election advertising.
The voter turnout was running slightly behind 2012, with 7.12 percent of voters turning up at the polls within the first three hours of voting. Turnout was reported heaviest in Kowloon East until that time.
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 are 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.
|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)|