Govt backs Returning Officers

July 30, 2020

The Government today said it agrees with and supports the decisions of Returning Officers to invalidate 12 nominees for this year's Legislative Council General Election.


In a statement, the Government noted that Returning Officers clearly state that, in determining the validity of nominations, the core question is whether the nominee has complied with the declaration requirement under section 40(1)(b)(i) of the Legislative Council Ordinance to uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China (PRC).


According to the ordinance, nominees for LegCo elections must, in accordance with the statutory nomination procedures, submit a nomination form which includes a signed declaration to the effect that the person will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR.


Returning Officers have pointed out that, making reference to the Hong Kong SAR Court of First Instance's judgment on the Chan Ho Tin case, an intention to uphold the Basic Law in the context of the section 40(1)(b)(i) declaration denotes not just compliance with it, but also an intention to support, promote and embrace it.


The Government said the nominations of the 12 nominees concerned have been invalidated by Returning Officers since their nominations are not in compliance with the requirement under the ordinance.


Returning Officers are still reviewing the validity of other nominations according to the laws and the Government does not rule out the possibility that more nominations would be invalidated.


The statement pointed out that the Returning Officers’ decisions aim to ensure that the election is held in strict accordance with the Basic Law and other applicable laws in an open, honest and fair manner.


There is no question of any political censorship, restriction of the freedom of speech or deprivation of the right to stand for elections as alleged by some members of the community, it added.


The Government fully supports Returning Officers in the discharge of statutory duties in accordance with the laws.


It said any insults and threats targeting Returning Officers will not be tolerated, adding the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data and law enforcement agencies including Police will follow up on such hostile behaviours.


The Government also reiterates that upholding the Basic Law is a fundamental constitutional duty of every LegCo member.


People advocating or promoting Hong Kong independence, self-determination or changing the system of the Hong Kong SAR by supporting Hong Kong independence as an option for self-determination, soliciting intervention by foreign governments or political authorities in relation to the Hong Kong SAR's affairs, expressing an objection in principle to the enactment of the National Security Law by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and its subsequent promulgation as a national law listed in Annex III to the Basic Law, expressing an intention to exercise the functions of a LegCo member by indiscriminately voting down any legislative proposals, appointments, funding applications and budgets introduced by the Government after securing a majority in the LegCo so as to force the Government to accede to certain political demands, and refusal to recognise the PRC's exercise of sovereignty over the Hong Kong SAR and its constitutional status as a local administrative region of the PRC could not genuinely uphold the Basic Law and therefore could not perform the duties of a LegCo member.


The statement emphasised that the Government respects and safeguards the lawful rights of Hong Kong people, including the right to vote and stand for elections, adding it also has a duty to implement and uphold the Basic Law and ensure that all elections will be conducted in accordance with the Basic Law and relevant electoral laws.

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