Calls mount to halt violence or shelve upcoming polls|Hong Kong|chinadaily.com.cn
Calls mount to halt violence or shelve upcoming polls
Updated: 2019-11-01 07:41
By Gu Mengyan and chen zimo in Hong Kong(HK Edition)
There have been growing calls from a wide section of the community for the SAR government to protect the upcoming District Council elections from intimidation by radical protesters or put them off altogether.
Former legislator Wong Kwok-hing, who’s also the convener of a cross-sector concern group on fair elections, urged Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Thursday to suspend the elections scheduled for Nov 24 if the violence persists.
Seven representatives from the legal, business, tourism and entertainment sectors urged the government to protect the personal safety of voters or suspend the polls.
Several candidates, as well as their family members, supporters and volunteers, have been reportedly harassed by anti-government radicals resorting to cyberbullying, or even assaults on nominees during canvassing. Offices of pro-establishment district councilors have also been repeatedly vandalized.
The first briefing session for the elections was thwarted by rowdy behavior from opposition candidates and their supporters who kept shouting slogans and hurling objects to interrupt Electoral Affairs Commission Chairman Fung Wah’s opening speech.
The government has set up a Crisis Management Committee to assess whether the upcoming elections should be postponed in the event of a riot, violence or danger to public safety.
No compromise for justice
A total of 1,090 qualified candidates will run for 452 seats in all the 18 districts in the special administrative region’s sixth District Council polls.
Meanwhile, the Independent Commission Against Corruption said on Thursday it will investigate 76 complaints concerning the upcoming elections to ensure that they will be fair and just.
The anti-graft watchdog has so far has received 77 complaints related to the elections, said ICAC commissioner Simon Peh Yun-lu.
Of the 76 pursuable cases, 28 complaints involved using or threatening to use force or duress against candidates; 18 concerned false or misleading statements about candidates; and 17 were related to electoral bribes.
Peh said the cases will be followed up in a professional manner in accordance with the law.
He said he understood the concerns of the public that the ongoing social unrest and attacking people with different political opinions could affect the fairness and justice of the elections.
Peh reiterated that the ICAC will continue to maintain fair and clean elections. It will also maintain close contact with the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, the Electoral Affairs Commission and the Registration and Electoral Office.
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(HK Edition 11/01/2019 page4)