Opinion | Diversified candidate portfolio ensures healthy competition in LegCo election
By Kenneth Li
With all but one aspirant who signed up to run in next month's Legislative Council election having been cleared to stand as candidates, the public is now in a better position to preview the election scheduled on Dec 19. The candidate list that contains aspirants from a variety of political spectrums bodes well for a new era of representative government in the wake of the 2019 political turmoil.
In contrast to the general claim of critics who have subsequently painted a bleak picture of Hong Kong's political future, there are candidates from the traditional pro-establishment camp, independent professionals, scholars, businesspeople and grassroots workers, as well as pragmatic "pan-democrats".
Critics have long asserted after the drastic overhaul of Hong Kong's electoral system that to ensure a full application of "patriots administering Hong Kong" under the "one country, two systems" principle, the LegCo election would eventually become just a window-dressing race without the participation of "pan-democracy" members. However, the diversified political portfolio of candidates ensures healthy competition in December for rational voices and representation in the next-term legislature.
Under the new electoral model, the 90 lawmakers will be elected from the three constituencies; namely, the Geographical Constituency, the Functional Constituency and the Election Committee Constituency. The candidate list reveals that each of the three constituencies has more candidates than the number of seats each offers, so it is a more-candidates-than-seats election. In other words, there is no candidate who will win a seat without a fight.
Although after the electoral changes, the number of directly elected seats was reduced from 35 to 20, there are "less radical" "pan-democrats", or pragmatic non-pro-establishment candidates in all 10 geographical constituencies, implying that none of the 20 seats will be returned uncontested.
Among those considered to be non-pro-establishment candidates, some are experienced politicians. They are forces to reckon with.
The presence of a number of qualified pragmatic "pan-democracy" candidates has shown the people of Hong Kong that the new electoral system will only bar those who interrupt the legislature maliciously at the expense of people's livelihoods and the stability of Hong Kong. For those who sincerely wish to rebuild Hong Kong in accordance with the "one country, two systems" principle, the door to representative government is still wide open.
The competition in the Functional Constituency will also be very keen, especially in the Medical and Health Services and Education constituencies. These constituencies were traditionally dominated by the radical "pan-democratic" professionals, many of whom have retreated from the political arena since the full application of the "patriots administering Hong Kong" precept in March.
On the other hand, the full implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong and the subsequent revamp of the region's electoral system have not only restored Hong Kong's law and order, but also the confidence of many successful businesspeople, retired government officials and professionals who have made a tremendous contribution to Hong Kong in various ways. Some household names have thrown their hats into the ring for the December election through the Election Committee Constituency. They would have avoided contesting in the election if the legislature was still hijacked by radicals using filibustering and strong physical confrontation to block the passage of bills.
Now, it is a challenge to all candidates from different political platforms to present their manifestoes in appealing ways to voters that show they are capable of solving deep-rooted social issues such as housing, education, healthcare, job security and so on. These are the real concerns of the people of Hong Kong, not the hollow political slogans of democracy and freedom.
It is good to have a number of moderate "pan-democrats" running for the election, making the competition fairer and more accountable. The candidates from the traditional pro-establishment camp have to work much harder before and after the election to prove that they are not mouthpieces of the government, but really work for the benefit of HK people.
Last but not least, we must show the world that the revamped electoral system has indeed strengthened Hong Kong's ability to cope with great changes ahead. Let them know that Hong Kong is not dying but instead progressing readily toward a brighter future.
(Source: China Daily)
The author is a member of the Hong Kong Association of Media Veterans and a freelance writer.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of DotDotNews.