A pro-Beijing politician has been disqualified from running as a candidate for the Chief Executive Election Committee because he failed to report a change of address.

Chan Yuk-yan, a member of the pro-Beijing DAB party, applied to stand as a candidate in the import and export sub-sector of the committee. Due to a lack of opponents, Chan would have been elected automatically and given the power to nominate and pick Hong Kong’s next leader.

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Chan Yuk-yan. Photo: HKCIEA.

Hong Kong’s leader is elected by the Chief Executive Election Committee, which consists of 1,200 members representing four sectors, under which 38 sub-sectors represent various trades, professions, social services groups and district organisations.

The import and export sub-sector is entitled to 18 seats. A spokesperson for the the Electoral Affairs Commission confirmed to HKFP that there are only 17 committee members remaining in the sub-sector, as the nomination period ended Tuesday and new nominations are not allowed.

It said that while logically the Election Committee would be reduced to 1,199 members, the final composition of the committee would only be confirmed after the elections next month.

Chan’s party colleague, import and export sector lawmaker Wong Ting-kwong, confirmed Chan’s oversight, Ming Pao reported. He said Chan moved during last year’s District Council elections and forgot to inform the Registration and Electoral Office of the change of residential address.

The Office subsequently mailed Chan at his former address to confirm his voter’s registration, but Chan failed to post a reply.

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2012 Chief Executive Election. File Photo: Gov HK.

Wong said he was “very upset” about the loss of the seat, which he said was a very serious mistake. He told HK01 that Chan had apologised to him on the phone.

Chan is a council member of the Hong Kong Chinese Importers’ and Exporters’ Association, which gave its 12 votes to incumbent leader Leung Chun-ying in the last chief executive election when other trade groups voted for Leung’s opponent. The chief executive has attended every major event held by the Association in recent years, according to HK01.

Chan’s disqualification would be unfavourable to Leung, though he has not announced his candidacy.

A council member of the Association said the seat is very “precious” and “not everyone who wants it can get it.” He added that Chan would very likely be blamed by the highers-up.

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One of the disqualified candidates of the engineering sub-sector. Photo: Progressive Engineering via Facebook.

Student Tommy Cheung, who led the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests and sat on the senate of his university last year, was also disqualified on the same basis.

The disqualified candidates criticised the lack of objective criteria for defining “substantial connection.” Cheung expressed concern that the returning officers have too much power over local elections as they can decide who is disqualified or not.

After taking into account the disqualifications, there are 1,539 nominees, with 403 automatically elected into the Election Committee due to a lack of opponents. The 403 nominees represent 13 sub-sectors.

The remaining 25 sub-sectors will hold ordinary elections on December 11. The chief executive election is scheduled for March 26 next year.

Ellie Ng has written for Foreign Policy, the Daily Telegraph, Global Voices Online and others.