“A by-election is entirely possible if we could win the petition,” banned localist candidate Edward Leung Tin-kei said after submitting a petition to the High Court on Friday.

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Edward Leung outside the High Court after submitting his election petition. screenshot.

Leung, member of the Hong Kong Indigenous party, was barred from running in the Legislative Council election in September because the returning officer deemed his support of Hong Kong independence to have violated the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution.

Leung called the decision by the returning officer to bar him illegal and unconstitutional, and said it violated his human rights.

“The returning officer is relying on the power of the LegCo ordinance,” he said, “but the LegCo ordinance – it is [in] black and white – [it stated] that she does not have that kind of right to check whether a candidate is bona fide or not to uphold the Basic Law.”

Edward Leung Tin-kei
Edward Leung, campaigning during the New Territories East by-election in February. File photo: Facebook.

“I am very confident, that is why I filed this petition,” Leung said. However he was concerned that a win may not necessarily mean he would have the chance to run for LegCo in the future. “We need to face the reality that the Beijing government is able to interpret the Basic Law once again, in order to [deny] any candidates who support Hong Kong independence to stand for the election once again,” he said.

Leung added that he was basing this challenge on the human rights legislation endowed by the Basic Law.

“If I didn’t support the Basic Law, then I would not do this. At this moment, the Basic Law is the most effective thing that can protect our human rights, the rule of law, and the social structure,” he said.

Leung filed a judicial review in August over his disqualification, but the judge told him that all election matters should be addressed through an election petition. He also filed a judicial review regarding the refusal of election materials containing “problematic” references to localism to be mailed out to the public during the New Territories East by-election in February.

Stanley is a Media and Communications graduate from Goldsmiths College in London. He takes particular interest in visual journalism, having produced photographic and video work on a number of social and political issues. He has also interned at the current affairs service of RTHK’s TV division.