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CE calls for prompt by-elections

September 12, 2017

By-elections should be held as soon as possible to fill the vacated seats of four disqualified lawmakers.


Chief Executive Carrie Lam made the statement to the media before today's Executive Council meeting, saying when and how the elections are conducted is a matter for the Electoral Affairs Commission to decide.


"Since the judicial proceedings of four of those cases, that is four vacant seats, have come to an end, then one would expect - and I am sure the EAC (Electoral Affairs Commission) will take a similar view - that the by-elections should be conducted as quickly as possible."


The courts earlier ruled the oaths taken by lawmakers Nathan Law, Edward Yiu, Sixtus Leung and Yau Wai-ching were invalid and disqualified them from the Legislative Council.


The legal cases involving Mr Leung and Ms Yau have come to an end after the Court of Final Appeal dismissed their bid to appeal their disqualification last month.


Mr Law and Mr Yiu have decided not to appeal.


Mrs Lam said the commission's Chairman Justice Barnabas Fung will discuss the matter with his colleagues this week.


"The Government will provide all the necessary support to the EAC and also the REO (Registration & Electoral Office) in conducting these by-elections in terms of resources, manpower and so on."


Preparations for the by-elections may take six months as three of the four vacant seats are returned by direct elections involving 2.1 million electors, 400 polling stations and 14,000 staff, she added.


On her recent condemnation of posters on university campuses calling for Hong Kong's independence and mocking the death of Under Secretary for Education Choi Yuk-lin's son, Mrs Lam said she respects institutional autonomy and freedom of speech.


"(However), this is not a question about freedom of speech. This is a question of whether we are respecting 'one country, two systems', and whether we are concerned about the development of Hong Kong, and also whether we are a compassionate society, showing respect especially for people who are caught in a very difficult position."

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