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Public consultation on District Council election proposed guidelines commences today (with photos)
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The following is issued on behalf of the Electoral Affairs Commission:

     The Electoral Affairs Commission today (May 24) released the proposed guidelines on election-related activities in respect of the District Council election for public consultation.

     "The consultation will end on June 22.  Members of the public are invited to express their views on the proposed guidelines," Commission Chairman Mr Justice Barnabas Fung Wah said at a press conference this afternoon.

     "All written representations must reach the Commission by June 22.  Late submissions will not be considered," Mr Justice Fung said.

     Members of the public can also express their views at a public forum to be held on June 9 at the Commission's conference room, 10/F, Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road, Wan Chai.

     A total of 412 elected members will be returned in the 2011 District Council ordinary election in November.

     "Before each ordinary election, the Commission will revise the electoral guidelines," Mr Justice Fung said.

     "The proposed guidelines are based on the existing guidelines for the District Council election with suitable alterations - mainly to reflect the latest proposed legislative amendments.

     "Subject to the enactment of the legislative amendments, the proposed changes will be incorporated in the finalised guidelines.  Some proposed amendments are also made in the light of views received from the public and other parties concerned," he said.

     The proposed guidelines set out a revised election expenses limit of $53,800.  The subsidy rate of financial assistance for eligible candidates will be revised to the lowest of $12 per vote times the number of valid votes received by the candidate, 50% of the election expenses limit or the amount of the declared election expenses of the candidate.  These are subject to the enactment of the proposed amendments to the relevant legislation.

     According to the proposed guidelines, if the Introduction to Candidates is considered to contain information not relating to the direct promotion of the candidature of the candidate concerned, the Registration and Electoral Office will request the candidate to make alterations.

     The relevant section on election petition will be suitably amended, subject to the enactment of the proposed legislative amendments to put in place an appeal mechanism for election petitions.

     To facilitate candidates, a new arrangement for submitting by electronic means the declaration and copy of an election advertisement to be displayed, distributed or otherwise used by electronic means, will be introduced in the proposed guidelines. Implementation will be subject to the passage of the proposed amendment to the relevant legislation.

     The proposed guidelines remind candidates that they should carefully study the requirements governing free postage for election advertisements.  Candidates should submit their election advertisement specimens to the post office for approval as early as possible before mass production so as to allow sufficient time for revising the contents of their election advertisement specimens, if necessary.

     The guidelines governing election broadcasting also apply to TV and radio broadcast on the Internet and those on advertising through the print media also apply to the online editions of the print media.

     Candidates and the media are also reminded that they should avoid unfair extra publicity for candidates.

     Mr Justice Fung stressed that all media organisations should provide fair and equal treatment to all candidates competing in the same constituency in reporting about them or their electioneering activities.

     Written representations can be sent to the Commission's Secretariat by post at 10/F, Harbour Centre, 25 Harbour Road, Wan Chai; by fax (2511 1682); or by email ([email protected]) before the deadline.

     The proposed guidelines can be downloaded from the Commission website at www.eac.gov.hk.  They are also available at the Registration and Electoral Office and the Public Enquiry Service Centres of District Offices.

     For enquiries, please call 2891 1001.

Ends/Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Issued at HKT 18:59

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