The government has reserved around HK$320 million in 2017-18 for the preparation and conduct of any possible by-elections.

The amount reserved by the Registration and Electoral Office was much higher than the by-election of the New Territories East constituency in 2016, for which only HK$73 million was reserved at the time.

The legislature election in September last year cost HK$596 million.

Yau Wai-Ching and Baggio Leung
Expelled lawmakers Yau Wai-Ching and Baggio Leung. Photo: LegCo.

The government made the written reply to lawmakers as they filed written questions at the Finance Committee over spending of departments in the annual budget.

Two localist lawmakers have been disqualified by a court, meaning that two by-elections in two areas are expected to be held.

The government has also asked the court to disqualify four other lawmakers, three of whom were elected from geographical constituencies. The other lawmaker won a seat from the architecture functional constituency, which involves a much smaller electorate.

All of them were challenged over their oaths of office taken in October last year.

The government document did not reveal when by-elections will be held: “Electoral Affairs Commission will arrange for by-election to be held in accordance with the legislation and actual situation.”

20th handover anniversary
A government promotional banner for the 20th handover anniversary. Photo: GovHK.

China celebrations 

Meanwhile, the government has set aside HK$40.93 million in 2017-18 for handover 20th anniversary celebrations on the mainland. Events will be held by Hong Kong’s five mainland offices in Beijing, Guangdong, Shanghai, Chengdu and Wuhan.

The events will include exhibitions, cultural performances, gala dinners or receptions, youth or student programmes, and film festivals.

The government has set aside HK$16 million to promote the understanding of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle and the Basic Law for the year 2017-18, around the same amount spent in the last three financial years.

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.