2021 Hong Kong legislative election
The 2021 Hong Kong Legislative Council election is scheduled on 19 December 2021 for the 7th Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo). Under the new framework imposed by the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC), the electoral system was drastically changed. The total number of the Legislative Council seats would be increased from 70 to 90 seats, 20 of which are from the directly elected geographical constituencies (GCs), which were reduced from 35; 30 seats remain from the trade-based indirectly elected functional constituencies (FCs); while an extra number of 40 seats will be elected by the Election Committee.
All 90 seats to the Legislative Council
46 seats needed for a majority
Originally scheduled on 6 September 2020, Chief Executive Carrie Lam postpone the election on the excuse of the COVID-19 pandemic five weeks before the polls. The delay was seen as a blow to the pro-democrats who hoped to achieve "35+" majority in the legislature for the first time by riding on the 2019 District Council landslide with the wave of massive anti-government protests. After the postponement, the NPCSC unseated four pro-democracy legislators which triggered the mass resignation of the opposition camp, while the police raided pro-democracy media outlet and arrested 55 opposition leaders who participated in the primaries under the newly imposed national security law. In March 2021, the NPCSC amended the Basic Law of Hong Kong which extensively rewrote the electoral rules.
Originally scheduled on 6 September 2020, the recent resurgence of the COVID-19 cases in July sparked the speculation of the possible delay of the election. Tam Yiu-chung, the sole representative from Hong Kong on National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC), suggested that the government should not rule out postponing the upcoming election, denying any criticism that the pro-Beijing camp was afraid of losing the election.
On 31 July the last day of the nomination period, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the invocation of the Emergency Regulations Ordinance which gave her to the emergency powers to postpone the election. On 11 August the NPCSC unanimously passed a decision to extend the incumbent 6th Legislative Council to extend its term for no less than one year.
The delay was seen as a blow to the pro-democrats who aimed to achieve "35+" majority by riding to 2019 District Council landslide on a wave of massive anti-government protests and concerns about the sweeping new national security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong. It was also seen as the latest in a quick series of aggressive moves by the Beijing authorities to thwart their momentum and sideline the pro-democracy movement. The pro-democrats accused Lam of using the pandemic as a pretext to stop people from voting and warned that doing so would "trigger a constitutional crisis in the city."
Crackdown on opposition
On 30 June 2020, the National People's Committee Standing Committee (NPCSC) enacted the national security law to outlaw "separatism, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference" in Hong Kong, targeting the recent widespread protests and the pro-democracy movement. On 10 August 2020, the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force raided the offices of Next Digital, the parent company of prominent pro-democracy newspaper Apple Daily. Next Digital founder and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai was arrested and later charged of violating the national security law.
In November, the NPCSC ruled in a decision which bars Legislative Council members from supporting Hong Kong independence, refusing to recognise Beijing's sovereignty over Hong Kong, seeking help from "foreign countries or foreign forces to interfere in the affairs of the region" or committing "other acts that endanger national security". As a result, four sitting legislators, Alvin Yeung, Kwok Ka-ki, Dennis Kwok and Kenneth Leung whose candidacies were invalidated by the Returning Officers in the later-postponed September election, were ousted from the legislature with immediate effect. After the disqualification, the 15 remaining pro-democracy legislators announced their resignation in protest of the decision. Adding to the previous disqualifications and resignations, the total number of vacancies jumped to 27 with virtually no opposition in the Legislative Council as a result.
In January 2021, 53 pro-democracy activists, former opposition legislators, social workers and academics were arrested by the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force under the national security law for holding and running in the primaries for the originally scheduled Legislative Council general election. The security ministre accused the opposition activists of "subverting state power" for holding the primaries and said that they were suspected of "conspir[ing] to obtain 35 or more seats at the Legislative Council (LegCo) with a view to … forcing the resignation of the Chief Executive, as well as bringing the HKSAR Government to a complete standstill, … to paralyse the Government and seriously interfere in, disrupt and undermine the performance of government duties and functions".
On 1 June 2021, the League of Social Democrats announced that it would boycott the election after leader Raphael Wong accused the Chinese Communist Party of "intending to wipe out dissidents". The move by the party comes after the arrests (under the national security law) of both its vice chairmen Leung Kwok-hung and Jimmy Sham and the conviction of secretary Avery Ng over an unauthorised assembly.
New electoral system
On 11 March 2021, the National People's Congress (NPC) passed a decision to rewrite the election rules in Hong Kong to impose a more restrictive electoral system, claiming it was to ensure a system of "patriots governing Hong Kong." The new electoral system was further framed on 30 March decision by the National People's Congress Standing Committee (NPCSC) which amended both the Annex I and Annex II of the Basic Law of Hong Kong which specifies the electoral methods for the Chief Executive (CE) and the Legislative Council respectively.
Under the new system, The number of Legislative Council seats would be increased to 90 from 70, but the number of directly elected geographical constituency seats would be lowered to 20 from 35, while the trade-based indirectly elected functional constituency seats would remain 30, and the Beijing-controlled 1,500-seat Election Committee would elect 40 seats to the Legislative Council. The five District Council (Second) "super seats" introduced in the 2010 electoral reform package and elected by all registered voters would be eliminated.
For the functional constituencies, the District Council (First) which would have been held by the pro-democrats due to the 2019 District Council landslide would be eliminated, while another pro-democracy stronghold Health Services would be merged with Medical and Information Technology to be scrapped. Three new constituencies would be created, namely Commercial (Third), Technology and Innovation, and the HKSAR deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC), HKSAR members of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and representatives of relevant national organisations.
The remaining 20 directly elected seats would be divided into 10 geographical constituencies in which two members would be elected per constituency, making it a single non-transferable vote (SNTV) system. Each candidate must receive nominations of at least two but no more than four members from each sector of the Election Committee. A Candidate Eligibility Review Committee would be set up to review and confirm the eligibility of candidates with the consultation of the Committee for Safeguarding National Security and the review of the National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force. The decision of the Review Committee shall not be challenged legally.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the further postponement of the Legislative Council election from the originally scheduled September to December, swapping with the planned Election Committee subsector elections, as the reintroduction of the Election Committee seats to the Legislative Council meant that the new Election Committee had to be elected prior to the Legislative Council election. Meanwhile, the next Chief Executive election would be held in March 2022 as originally scheduled.
In April, the SAR administration unveiled the Improving Electoral System (Consolidated Amendments) Bill 2021 which included a raft of changes to the Elections (Corrupt and Illegal Conduct) Ordinance that would "regulate acts that manipulate or undermine elections", criminalising anyone who incites the others not to vote or cast blank or spoiled ballots. Violators could face up to three years in prison.
|Polling source||Sample size||Pro-democracy||Pro-Beijing||Undecided/Not Voting/Other||Lead|
|19–22 October 2020||HKPORI||1,020||46%||13%||35%||33%|
|30 August 2020||HKPORI||1,007||57%||25%||19%||32%|
|15–18 June 2020||HKPORI||1,002||53%||29%||18%||24%|
|17–20 March 2020||HKPORI||1,001||58%||22%||20%||36%|
|4 September 2016||2016 election results||55.0%||40.2%||4.9%||14.9%|
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