Functional constituency (Hong Kong)

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This article is about political group in Hong Kong. For other uses, see Functional constituency (disambiguation).

In the political systems of Hong Kong, a functional constituency is a professional or special interest group involved in the electoral process. Eligible voters in a functional constituency may include natural persons as well as other designated legal entities such as organisations and corporations.

History[edit]

The concept of functional constituencies in Hong Kong was first developed in the release of "Green Paper: A Pattern of District Administration in Hong Kong" on 18 July 1984. The paper suggested Legislative Council to create 24 seats with 12 seats from different professional interest groups including Urban Council, Regional Council, and District Council. The first functional constituency was not created until 1991 with 14 seats consist of Heung Yee Kuk, Urban Council, Regional, and 11 types of industry.[1]

The 14 functional constituencies in 1991:

In 1992, Chris Patten suggested additional political reform by adding nine additional functional constituencies with much extended voter base to the existing system. The changes were implemented in the 1995 legislative election.

The 9 functional constituencies added in 1995:

After transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong in 1997, the functional constituencies were increased to 28 consisting of the following:

The Labour constituency will return 3 seats and the others with one.

By 2000, the seat held by Urban Council and Regional Council were dissolved by Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa, the two seats were replaced by Catering and District Council. The District Council would be renamed to District Council(First) by 2012, as a result of addition of a special Functional Constituenciy which also having candidates from District Council but a different range of electors, named District Council (Second).

Present[edit]

Currently, only 40 of the 70 Legislative Council seats are directly elected by the majority of people (35 through geographical constituencies and 5 through District Council (Second) functional constituency), with the rest of 30 elected by 28 traditional functional constituencies.

The Electoral base is non-uniform, and there may be institutional votes, individual votes or a mixture of both. Approximately one third of members are theoretically returned each by corporate block vote only, a mixture of corporate and individual votes, and individuals only.[2] In those sectors with mixed voting, four have a greater number of block votes than individual electors. Fourteen seats were uncontested in 2008; of the 16 contested seats, the number of electors, corporate and individuals combined, ranged from between 112 and 52,894 voters.[3] Four of the FC legislators – mostly those returned in fiercely contested elections – are aligned with the parties which support universal suffrage; two are independent and the rest (24) are pro-government.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPCSC) refers to the participation of the business block vote in the affairs of Hong Kong as "balanced participation". On 26 April 2004, the NPCSC published[4] its decision that:

"Any change...shall conform to principles such as being compatible with the social, economic, political development of Hong Kong, being conducive to the balanced participation of all sectors and groups"

In 2009, the Government published details of the electoral base of the functional constituencies as follows:

Functional Constituency   No. of Registered Electors  
  Note:The list do not include District Council (Second) Functional Constituency, which consisted of all other Individual Registered Elector not belong to other 28 Functional Constituencies   Bodies   Individuals   Total  
1 Heung Yee Kuk       155   155  
2 Agriculture and Fisheries   160       160  
3 Insurance   141       141  
4 Transport   178       178  
5 Education       88,964   88,964  
6 Legal       6,022   6,022  
7 Accountancy       22,089   22,089  
8 Medical       10,493   10,493  
9 Health Services       36,491   36,491  
10 Engineering       8,261   8,261  
11 Architectural, Surveying and Planning       6,117   6,117  
12 Labour   597       597  
13 Social Welfare       12,293   12,293  
14 Real Estate and Construction   441   286   727  
15 Tourism   1,236       1,236  
16 Commercial (First)   1,040       1,040  
17 Commercial (Second)   748   1,066   1,814  
18 Industrial (First)   715   0   715  
19 Industrial (Second)   805       805  
20 Finance   132       132  
21 Financial Services   578       578  
22 Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication   2,060   155   2,215  
23 Import and Export   875   619   1,494  
24 Textiles and Garment   3,579   130   3,709  
25 Wholesale and Retail   1,829   4,168   5,997  
26 Information Technology   364   5,383   5,747  
27 Catering   582   7,414   7,996  
28 District Council (First)       425   425  
  TOTAL   16,060   210,531   226,591  
  source: Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Bureau[2]          

Criticisms[edit]

Pro-democracy supporters criticise the functional constituency system for giving a minority too much power and influence. The right of corporations and legal entities to vote is also controversial, as it gives some individuals multiple votes. For example, in 1998, Sino Group chairman Robert Ng and companies he controlled held roughly 3-4% of the votes in the real estate constituency, according to an analysis by the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor; they described this as being equivalent in voting power to 15,940 people in a geographical constituency.[5][6]

In some functional constituencies, the entire body of eligible voters comprises legal entities that are not natural persons. This is known as corporate voting.

In 2009, there were applications for judicial review to challenge the legality of corporate voting on the grounds that it contravened the right to vote enshrined in Article 26 of the Basic Law or was discriminatory in nature.[7] Mr. Justice Andrew Cheung dismissed the applications, emphasising that his judgment was solely concerned with the constitutionality of corporate voting rather than the political wisdom of corporate voting or functional constituencies.[8]

There have been calls to abolish the functional constituencies from pan democrats. The May 2010 by-election was triggered by the resignation of 5 pan-democrats from the Legislative Council who put themselves up for re-election to the Legislative Council. The 'Five Constituencies Referendum' concept to use a by-election as a de facto referendum on universal suffrage and the abolition of functional constituencies was hatched by the League of Social Democrats.

Reform proposals[edit]

Following the consultations on the 2009 political reform package, where an additional five legislative seats for District Councils were proposed (in addition to Geographical seats) the government unveiled the revised package in mid-April 2010. It was proposed that the five additional Legco seats for the district council constituencies will be elected by proportional representation instead of block voting.[9] With the proposals looking likely to be vetoed, the Democratic Party said they would support the measures if the five new District Council functional seats, and the one existing seat, would return candidates nominated by district councillors and elected by all registered voters.[10]

List of current functional constituency members[edit]

Functional Constituencies   Name Party Prior Experience Education First Took Office Born
Accountancy Leung, KennethKenneth Leung Professional Commons Accountant Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Ph. D) 2012 1960
Agriculture and Fisheries Ho, StevenSteven Ho DAB Election Committee University of Birmingham (BS) 2012 1979
Architectural, Surveying and Planning Tse, TonyTony Tse Independent Election Committee Hong Kong Polytechnic University (BA) 2012 1954
Catering Cheung, TommyTommy Cheung Liberal Party Eastern District councilman Pepperdine University 2000 1949
Commercial (First) Lam, JeffreyJeffrey Lam Economic Synergy Managing Director of Forward Winsome Industries Tufts University (BS) 2004 1952
Commercial (Second) Wong, PhilipPhilip Wong None Businessman California Coast University (Ph.D) 1991 1938
District Council (First) Ip Kwok Him.jpg Ip Kwok-him DAB Central and Western District councilman None 2000 1951
District Council (Second) James TO Kun-sun 201201.JPG James To Democratic Party 1991 1963
Starry Lee Wai King.jpg Starry Lee DAB Accountant 2008 1974
Frederick Fung Kin Kee.jpg Frederick Fung ADPL 1991 1953
Chan Yuen Han FTU 20070211 01.jpg Chan Yuen-han FTU 1995 1946
Albert Ho Chun Yan.jpg Albert Ho Democratic Party 1995 1951
Education Ip Kin-yuen.jpg Ip Kin-yuen PTU Teacher, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union University of Hong Kong (MA) 2012 1962
Engineering Lo Wai-kwok BPA Structural engineer, President of Hong Kong Institution of Engineers University of Hong Kong (BS) 2012 1960
Finance Ng Leung-sing Independent Vice-chairman of China & South Sea Bank University of Macau (Ph. D) 2012 1949
Financial Services Cheung, ChristopherChristopher Cheung BPA Election Committee None 2012 1951
Health Services Lee, JosephJoseph Lee None Nurse, Assistant Professor at Open University of Hong Kong La Trobe University (BSN) 2004 1959
Heung Yee Kuk Lau Wong-fat at Victoria Park 20100619.jpg Lau Wong-fat Liberal Party Member of Regional Council, landlord, farmer Ling Saan High School 1991 1936
Import and Export Wong Ting-kwong.JPG Wong Ting-kwong DAB Businessman Guangzhou 6th High School 2004 1949
Industrial (First) Leung, AndrewAndrew Leung Economic Synergy Chairman of Chairman of Hong Kong Productivity Council and Hong Kong Vocational Council University of Leeds 2004 1951
Industrial (Second) Lam Tai-fai None Managing Director of Peninsula Knitters Ltd Hong Kong Polytechnic University 2008 1959
Information Technology Mok, CharlesCharles Mok Professional Commons Founder of Group Sense Purdue University (BS) 2012 1964
Insurance Chan Kin-por None Assistant General Manager and Head of Insurance Group of Hang Seng Bank Ng Wah Catholic Secondary School 2008 1954
Labour Poon Siu-ping FLU Chairman of FLU None 2012 1957
Kwok Wai-keung FTU District councillor for Eastern District Council None 2012 1979
Tang Ka-piu FTU District councillor for Islands District Council None 2012 1981
Legal Dennis KWOK 2012-07-01.JPG Kwok, DennisDennis Kwok Civic Party Lawyer King's College London (Ph.D) 2012 1978
Medical Leung Ka-lau Independent Doctor Chinese University of Hong Kong (Ph.D) 2008 1962
Real Estate and Construction Razack, AbrahamAbraham Razack Professional Forum Businessman, Chief Executive of the Urban Renewal Authority University of Sydney 2000 1945
Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication Ma Fung-kwok New Century Forum Chairman of Hong Kong Arts Development Council None 2012 1955
Social Welfare Cheungkwokche.jpg Cheung Kwok-che Labour Party Social worker Hong Kong Polytechnic University 2008 1951
Textiles and Garment Chung, FelixFelix Chung Liberal Party Chairman of Hong Kong Apparel Society Robert Gordon University 2012 1964
Tourism Yiu Si-wing Independent Director of China Travel Service University of New South Wales 2012 1952
Transport Yick, FrankieFrankie Yick Liberal Party Election Committee University of Birmingham 2012 1954
Wholesale and Retail Fang, VincentVincent Fang Liberal Party Entrepreneur Wah Yan College 2004 1943

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Loh, Christine; Civic Exchange (1 March 2006). Functional Constituencies: A Unique Feature of the Hong Kong Legislative Council. Hong Kong University Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-962-209-790-2. 
  2. ^ a b 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
  3. ^ 2008 Legislative Council Election, Government of Hong Kong
  4. ^ Decision of Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Issues Relating to the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in the year 2007 and for Forming the Legislative Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the year 2008, Hong Kong Government Regional Gazette, 26 April 2004
  5. ^ Rights Group Attacks Electoral System, South China Morning Post, 1998-12-04 
  6. ^ Corporate Voting is Highly Corrupt, Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, December 1998, retrieved 2009-07-14 
  7. ^ http://www.association-france-hongkong.org/spip.php?article931&lang=fr#outil_sommaire_2
  8. ^ "Chan Yu Nam v. Secretary for Justice". Retrieved 2 March 2010. 
  9. ^ Lee, Diana, (15 April 2010). 'Grab this golden chance', The Standard
  10. ^ Leung, Ambrose and Cheung, Gary (1 June 2010). "Democrats seek deal for support of reforms", South China Morning Post

External links[edit]