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Poll plan tweaked:  Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam announces a revision to a proposed mechanism for filling vacant, popularly elected Legislative Council seats.

Replacement mechanism revised

June 28, 2011
Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam has announced a revised proposal on the replacement mechanism for filling Legislative Council vacancies.
Speaking to the media today, Mr Lam said the Government has considered many views on its original proposal to fill LegCo vacancies with the second popular list of candidates.
“Many have pointed out, in cases of death or serious illness, it would be unfair for the vacancy to be passed to a political party different from that of the member originally occupying the seat,” he said.
“According to the originally proposed mechanism, there will be a possible change of political party in the council. This would mean the original 30,000 to 50,000 votes, which supported the member departed, would lose their effect. It would also mean the proportion of seats occurring under the proportional representation system will be changed.”
After careful consideration, Mr Lam said the proposal has been revised, so if any vacancies occur, the replacement will come from the original candidate list of the member leaving LegCo.
“This will preserve the proportion of seats allocated after the general election in line with the proportional representation system,” he said.
“For voters, when they cast their votes in the general election, they will know full well the list they are supporting will become members and each candidate from the same list will be the replacement if the serving members leave.”
If the original list of candidates cannot fill the vacancy, then the original proposal of having the list with the largest remaining number of votes will be used to replace it. If both lists cannot be used to fill the vacancy, a by-election will be held.
Mr Lam said the revised proposal will avoid an unnecessary by-election if a serving member chooses to resign, saving expenditure and ensuring LegCo's smooth operation.