2008-07-19 15:08:08 GMT 2008-07-19 23:08:08 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English
HONG KONG, July 19 (Xinhua) -- The nomination period for Hong Kong's 2008 Legislative Council (LegCo) election started here on Saturday in the run-up of polling on Sept. 7.
Though the two-week nomination period will run until Aug. 1, 38 candidates for five geographical constituencies and 28 functional constituencies had submitted their nomination forms to Returning Officers.
There were 16 for the geographical constituencies, with three each in Hong Kong Island and Kowloon East, two in Kowloon West and eight in New Territories West. For the functional constituencies, 22 nominations were received.
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang called on voters on Saturday to vote in the Sept. 7 LegCo election to return legislators who can represent them in shaping Hong Kong's future.
Launching the election's publicity campaign here Saturday, Tang said he was pleased to see the enthusiastic response of the citizens in the latest voter registration drive with a record number of 3.37 million voters.
"This shows that more people are keen to take up their civic responsibilities, exercise their rights, and take Hong Kong's future close to their hearts," Tang said.
Speaking to reporters after the ceremony, HKSAR government Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Stephen Lam said the four-term LegCo will play a key role in determining the further progress of democratization for Hong Kong in 2012 for forming LegCo and for returning the Chief Executive.
"So, I would call on all 3.37 million registered voters to come out and vote on September 7 and choose the representatives they wish to represent their opinions, their districts and their functional constituencies."
"I also hope in the light of more intense competition which we all expect for the forthcoming elections, we will be able to select candidates through this open and fair democratic process," Lam said.
In the LegCo election on Sept. 7, 30 members will be returned by geographical constituencies and another 30 by functional constituencies, according to the Basic Law, Hong Kong's mini- constitution.
To run for a seat in a geographical constituency or a functional constituency, a nominee must be a registered geographical constituency elector aged 21 or above, and have ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for the three years immediately before his or her nomination, according to the guidelines on the 2008 LegCo election.
The nominee for the geographical constituency must be a Chinese citizen who is a Hong Kong permanent resident with no right of abode in a foreign country.
However, the candidature in 12 functional constituencies is open to Hong Kong permanent residents who are not Chinese nationals or who have the right of abode in a foreign country. These constituencies are: legal; accountancy; engineering; architectural, surveying and planning; real estate and construction; tourism; commercial (first); industrial (first); finance; financial services; import and export; and insurance.
For the functional constituency election, the nominee must also be a registered elector for, or have a substantial connection with, the relevant functional constituency.
For the geographical constituency election, each list of candidates has to be subscribed by 100 registered electors of the constituency concerned and a deposit of 50,000 HK dollars (about 6,410 U.S. dollars) must be paid.
For the functional constituency election, each nominee must be subscribed by 10 registered electors of the constituency concerned and pay a deposit of 25,000 HK dollars (about 3,205 U.S. dollars).