A group of pro-democracy lawmakers have urged professionals to register as voters in their functional constituencies, as many have not done so. The deadline on May 2 comes in less than 20 days.

The lawmakers belong to four functional constituencies which elected pro-democracy candidates in the last election, but they were concerned that – as many did not register as voters in their sectors – the pro-democracy camp may lose veto power at the Legislative Council.

Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong of the accountancy sector said that there were 39,225 professional accountants who were eligible to register, but only 25,069 – or 64 percent – are registered.

Photo: Charles Mok.

Leung said that the number of registered voters decreased by around 100 since the last election, but the number of professional accountants has seen an increase of around 4,800 between 2012 and 2015.

“In the current election system, it is meaningful to be an accountancy sector voter,” Leung said. “Other than voting for a lawmaker for the sector, they can also vote for 30 accountancy sector members of the election committee for Chief Executive.”

Charles Mok of IT sector said his sector has the lowest rate of voters, with fewer than 6,000 registered in the 80,000-strong sector.

Mok said it was worrying that earlier reports indicated the IT sector may be subjected to “vote-rigging” activities easily, by reducing the membership fee “by a large amount” to register more voters.

A group of pro-democracy lawmakers have urged the professionals to register as voters of their functional constituencies, as many have not done so, and the deadline comes in less than 20 days. Photo: Charles Mok.

Dennis Kwok Wing-hang of the legal sector said that there were 11,311 practicing lawyers in Hong Kong, but only 6,500 were registered as voters in his sector.

The education sector has the largest number of voters with 88,517 registered, but lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen estimated that “tens of thousands have yet to register”. He also said he was worried that the number of education sector voters decreased 7.6 percent over the past five years.

Ip urged teachers who switched to the “super district council” functional constituency to consider switching back to the education sector, which will allow them to vote in the Chief Executive election committee election at the end of the year.

Functional constituencies consist of half of the Legislative Council. They are industry sector seats are voted for by professionals registered in their field. Organisations, special interest groups and corporations may be included among eligible voters.

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.