The nomination period for the chief executive election of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has begun on Sunday and will run through April 16.
The election is scheduled to be held on May 8.
Pursuant to the Electoral Procedure (Chief Executive Election) Regulation, a candidate for the office of the chief executive must submit the completed nomination form in person to the returning officer for the election during ordinary business hours within the nomination period. As April 15 and 16 are both general holidays, the deadline for submitting the nomination form will be 5 p.m. local time on April 14, according to the Electoral Affairs Commission.
Under the HKSAR government's current anti-epidemic policies, group gatherings of more than two persons at a public place or multi-household gatherings involving more than two households at any private premises are prohibited, and the ban is extended to April 20.
The HKSAR government said earlier that the chief secretary for administration has exercised his power to permit the candidate(s) for the office of the chief executive to conduct gatherings relevant to the election during the period from April 3 to May 8, having considered the exceptionality of the chief executive election.
The permission applies only to indoor gatherings in restricted public places and does not cover outdoor group gatherings. Participants of the gatherings must have their body temperature screened before entrance, wear a mask and no food or beverages should be provided.
The HKSAR government said that the chief executive election is an election returning the top official of the HKSAR and hence the exceptionality of the situation is beyond doubt.
Enabling the Election Committee members and Hong Kong citizens to better understand the policy objectives of the candidate(s) will lay a solid foundation for future governance for the HKSAR government. Hence the permission is in line with the public interest and is necessary, the HKSAR government said.