Four civil service unions in Hong Kong have issued a joint statement to call on people to “vote enthusiastically” in the upcoming “patriots only” election, saying the revamped polls are of “great significance.”
In a statement issued on Wednesday, the unions representing Hong Kong government employees threw their weight behind the newly-restricted Legislative Council (LegCo) election scheduled for December 19. This will be the city’s first general election after Beijing directed sweeping electoral changes to ensure only “patriots” rule Hong Kong. It is also the first legislative race following the enactment of the national security law.
The associations said they “fully support” the large-scale election, which will mobilise more than 30,000 civil servants to help with polling work. They previously appealed to fellow government staff to sign up for working on the election day, and urged the general public to fulfil their civic duty and cast their ballot in the LegCo polls.
“[We] urged all colleagues to be united and give your best in the election work,” a statement jointly penned by the Government Employees Association, the Hong Kong Federation of Civil Service Unions, the Chinese Academy of Governance Hong Kong Alumni Association and the Federation of HKSARG Civil Servants read.
“[We] urge our civil servant colleagues and citizens… to vote enthusiastically on the election, to elect the virtuous to help Hong Kong create a new situation.”
The turnout for next month’s race has been widely predicted to be lower than previous elections in surveys, with the anti-graft chief suggesting that such polling may itself be illegal.
The general public will only elect 20 out of the 90 seats in the legislature, from a pool of candidates who pass national security checks by the government. The remaining seats will be returned by special interest groups and a 1,500-seat Election Committee, which is also comprised of “patriots” of China.
Most pro-democracy figures have fled Hong Kong, quit politics or are locked up behind bars.
The election has been hailed as “competitive” by the authorities, but the competition may be “limited” to a “narrow spectrum,” according to local elections experts, as traditional opposition parties have put forward no candidates.
Support press freedom & help us surpass 1,000 monthly Patrons: 100% independent, governed by an ethics code & not-for-profit, Hong Kong Free Press is #PressingOn with impartial, award-winning, frontline coverage.