A new confirmation form has been added to the final guidelines for the upcoming chief executive election, which the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) said was to “ensure that all candidates clearly understand the contents of the Basic Law and the legal requirements and responsibilities involved” in signing declarations in the nomination form.

Candidates were already required to sign two declarations: one declaring that the candidate stands for the election in an individual capacity and that they will uphold the Basic Law and pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; another stating the candidate’s nationality and whether they have a right of abode in any foreign country.

The final guidelines for Chief Executive Election. Photo: Screenshot.

In the new guidelines issued on Thursday, the EAC added a new provision in chapter three 3.7 stating that the new confirmation form is for the use of the Returning Officer (RO).

“To ensure that all candidates clearly understand the contents of the Basic Law and the legal requirements and responsibilities involved in signing the relevant declaration in the nomination form, the EAC will prepare a Confirmation Form for the use of the RO with a view to assisting the RO in the exercise of his/her statutory power to discharge his/her duties to ensure that the nomination procedure is completed in accordance with the law. The Confirmation Form also enables the candidate to confirm that he/she understands the above requirements and responsibilities.”

However, the confirmation form is not a part of the nomination form.

Appendix A of the guidelines was also amended to say that during the nomination period, candidates should “Lodge with the RO the Confirmation Form.”

The Electoral Affairs Commission launched a public consultation on the guidelines for the Chief Executive election for two weeks in June. File Photo: GovHK.

Unclear requirements

The guidelines did not discuss the contents of the confirmation form, nor did it say that candidates must sign the confirmation form to have their candidacies confirmed.

A press release issued by the EAC on Thursday did not directly mention the change, but a spokesman said: “The guidelines were updated by the Commission after taking into consideration the views received during a 14-day public consultation exercise that ended on June 26.”

“Those who intend to stand for the election are urged to read carefully the guidelines and the relevant electoral legislation, and should strictly abide by them,” he said.

Edward Leung (left) and Andy Chan (right). File Photo: Stand News.

Similar measure

The EAC introduced a similar measure in July, two days before the nomination period of the Legislative Council election this year.

Of the five disqualified candidates who returning officers deemed unable to uphold the Basic Law, three did not sign the confirmation form, including Hong Kong National Party convenor Andy Chan Ho-tin, whilst two including Hong Kong Indigenous’ Edward Leung Tin-kei did.

Most pro-democracy camp candidates refused to sign the form, but their candidacies were validated.

The chief executive election will be held on March 26 next year. The nomination period has yet to be announced.

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.