Steep plunge in Election Committee voters signing up

Only 7,891 people registered as voters for electing members to the Election Committee, a plunge of 97 percent following electoral changes.

The Election Committee subsector provisional register of voters was released yesterday by the Registration and Electoral Office. Of those who registered, 2,547 individuals and 5,344 corporate voters signed up.

That is a steep drop from the 250,000 who signed up to vote before the electoral changes. The vote on Election Committee members will be held on September 19.

New subsectors under the electoral changes saw nearly 2,000 new registered voters.

However, subsectors that were previously strongholds of the pro-democracy camp, including medical and health services, accounting and education, saw the number of voters drop.

In education, the number of voters fell from more than 100,000 to about 1,700. The subsector has the most corporate voters, 32 percent of the total.

This was after the electoral changes that merged the education and higher education subsectors, and scrapped individual votes, which was replaced by corporate votes.

That would mean teachers will no longer be able to vote individually. Only schools and educational institutions will be able to elect committee members.

Political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung said the electorate base has actually shrunk despite the subsector having the most voters, and elected candidates might not be able to represent mainstream opinion in the education sector.

On the other hand, Choy said, the new electoral system does not really represent the different sectors or their interests, and only makes sure the election outcome goes as planned, therefore the emergence of pro-Beijing organizations as voters is not surprising to him.

The voters’ register shows the Hong Kong Chilled Meat and Poultry Association has registered as a voter in the new grassroot associations subsector.

Its chairman, Kwok Shi-hing, said he found his association ineligible to register in other subsectors, therefore it registered in the grassroot associations subsector.

“The association is a major stakeholder in Hong Kong as it imports the majority of chilled meat, and therefore should be allowed to vote,” Kwok said.

As he was asked whether the association will represent people at the grassroot or the interests of the trade, Kwok said chilled meat products affect grassroot residents more as it is cheaper than fresh meat, therefore the association also represents people at the grassroot .

The electoral changes were passed by the Legislative Council in May.

Apart from electing the chief executive, committee members will also hold 40 of the total 90 seats in Legco, and be responsible for nominating candidates in other constituencies after the electoral changes.

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