The Election Committee is a Hong Kong electoral college, the function of which is to select the Chief Executive. Established by Annex I of the Basic Law of Hong Kong, it is renewed every five years upon expiration of the sitting chief executive's term. It had 1,200 members for the 2012 election, up from 800 in 2011, and 400 in 2010.
Choosing the Members of the Election Committee
Each of the 28 functional constituencies receives a set number of electoral votes allocated to them. The block vote is applied to choose the members, as was common in the United States before the modern practice of voting only for a set slate or ticket of electors was established.
The 1,200-member Election Committee
|This article is outdated. (August 2012)|
The composition of the 1,200-member Election Committee, from commencement of the term of office on 1 February 2012, was:
- 1,044 members elected from 38 sub-sectors,
- 60 members nominated by the religious sub-sector, and
- 96 ex officio members (Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress and Legislative Council members).
|Subsector||No. of members|
|Heung Yee Kuk||28|
|Agriculture and Fisheries||60|
|Architectural, Surveying and Planning||30|
|Real Estate and Construction||18|
|Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication||60|
|Import and Export||18|
|Textiles and Garment||18|
|Wholesale and Retail||18|
|Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference||55|
|Employers' Federation of HK||16|
|HK and Kowloon District Councils||59|
|New Territories District Councils||62|
|HK Chinese Enterprises Association||16|
|National People's Congress||36|
The New York Times wrote that sectors that were politically closer to Beijing, such as traditional Chinese medicine, were over-represented in proportion to their share of the population, when compared to sectors deemed hostile, such as social workers or lawyers.
Since the electors must serve for no more than five years, a new election must occur, and the chief executive resignation would cause an interesting matter of timing, as to whether the old or new college of electors would select the new chief executive.
The Election Committee elections have been quite irregular. They were held in 1998 and 2000, but none (except for the 2002 by-election) have been held since. Former Financial Secretary and Chief Secretary Donald Tsang became the new Chief Executive elected on 16 June 2005, following Tung Chee-Hwa's resignation on 12 March and, since electoral law states that an election must be held within 120 days of the vacancy, an election would have to have been held on 10 July at the latest.
The 800-member Election Committee
The 800 members of the Election Committee comprise 664 nominated from the sectors of the economy, 40 from the religious organizations, and 96 ex officio members taken from the government.
Electoral base of the Election Committee
|No. of Registered Voters|
|Name of Subsectors||Bodies||Individuals||Total||EC votes|
|4||Employers' Federation of Hong Kong||105||105||11|
|7||Hong Kong Chinese Enterprises Association||306||8||314||11|
|9||Import and Export||861||608||1,469||12|
|13||Real Estate and Construction||440||276||716||12|
|14||Textiles and Garment||3,578||130||3,708||12|
|17||Wholesale and Retail||1,819||4,154||5,973||12|
|2||Architectural, Surveying and Planning||6,115||6,115||20|
|1||Agriculture and Fisheries||160||160||40|
|4||Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication||2,052||155||2,207||40|
|1||Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference||117||117||41|
|2||Heung Yee Kuk||151||151||21|
|3||Hong Kong and Kowloon District Councils||204||204||21|
|4||New Territories District Councils||220||220||21|
|source: Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Bureau|
After a nine-hour debate on the Consultation Document on the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive and for Forming the LegCo in 2012, the resolution which increased the size of the Election Committee in 2012 from 800 to 1,200 members, won endorsement at 2:20 p.m. on 24 June by the legislature 46 votes to 13. Eight Pan-democrats supported the proposals.
Choosing the Chief Executive
Each candidate must be validly and legally nominated in order to participate in the election. One of the requirements for eligibility is the nomination of at least 150 members of the Election Committee. Since each elector can only nominate one candidate, 151 signatures will guarantee an election unopposed. The college of electors casts the official ballots for the office, with an absolute majority of the votes required to be elected. If no candidate receives an absolute majority (601 votes as it currently stands) a runoff is held on a later date. It is rather unclear what would happen in the case of a tie, since the constitution does not state any tie-breaker formats.
Inauguration Day is set at Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Establishment Day, 1 July, with the elections being held on a date determined by the sitting Chief Executive any time in the six months prior to this date.
Each of the 1,200 members must have publicly declared their preferred choice within the two-week nomination period. According to Ohmynews, "Its very design causes the discourse of democracy to get bandied about as though it were a legitimate feature of the process. Thus, the media reports on an 'election campaign' when only 800 individuals are allowed to vote, or refers to Tsang, Bejing's choice, as a "candidate" when the possibility of his failing is a non-starter. The euphemism, 'small-circle election' is also repeatedly employed to refer to what in reality is a thoroughly undemocratic process."
Elections for the Chief Executive
- Hong Kong Chief Executive election, 1996
- Hong Kong Chief Executive election, 2002
- Hong Kong Chief Executive election, 2005
- Hong Kong Chief Executive election, 2007
- Hong Kong Chief Executive election, 2012
- HK Government - 2011 Election Committee Subsector Elections
- Bradsher, Keith of The New York Times (22 March 2012) "Bejing Switches Sides in the Race for Hong Kong's Chief Executive". Pittsburg Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on 22 March 2012.
- Public Consultation on the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive and for Forming the Legislative Council in 2012 Government of Hong Kong, 18 November 2009
- Cheung, Gary; Wong, Albert & Fung, Fanny (25 Jun. 2010) "Cheers and jeers for political reform vote", South China Morning Post
- Kootnikoff, David (21 June 2005), Hong Kong Chief Faces Crisis of Legitimacy, Ohmynews