Enthusiasm to serve on the expanded, 1,500-strong Election Committee in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is high, as 445 nominees submitted their forms on Friday and Saturday, the first two days of the weeklong nomination period.
Many have pledged that if elected, they will act responsibly in carrying out their roles in the election of the city's top leader and lawmakers, and make the people's voice and expectations heard.
Election Committee members are responsible for nominating chief executive candidates, electing the chief executive, electing 40 members of the Legislative Council and nominating all LegCo candidates.
The Candidate Eligibility Review Committee, chaired by Chief Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu, will determine the validity of the candidacies. Lee said earlier that the review committee will release the list of valid candidates for the Election Committee on Aug 26. Lee said the review committee will scrutinize the eligibility of all nominees to ensure that those who fail to uphold the Hong Kong SAR Basic Law or do not bear allegiance to the Hong Kong SAR will be weeded out of contention.
Businessperson Cheng Cheungling, a member of the China Overseas Friendship Association, submitted her nomination form on Saturday to run in the subsector for representatives of Hong Kong members of relevant national organizations. It is a new subsector, holding 110 seats.
In running for the Election Committee, Cheng said she would support driven and competent people to solve long-standing problems in Hong Kong in order to contribute to boosting economic growth and improve people's standards of living.
Eileen Tsui Li, director-general of the Kowloon Federation of Associations, was nominated on Saturday to contend for a seat in the subsector of grassroots associations, another new subsector with 60 seats.
Tsui told reporters that the creation of this new subsector shows that the value and services of grassroots groups are recognized. She said grassroots groups should take full advantage of having representation on the Election Committee to help Hong Kong move forward.
The issues close to her heart include housing and education. She also believes the city's future leader should be capable of reuniting society and have a vision for development that benefits all residents.
Eric Fung, president of the Hong Kong Professionals (Beijing) Association, registered for a seat in the subsector for representatives of associations of Hong Kong residents on the Chinese mainland. This is another new subsector, with 27 seats all filled by nomination.
Fung said the inclusion of this new subsector inspired people like him to continue making efforts to strengthen Hong Kong-mainland ties.
Fung pledged that if he became a member of the Election Committee, he will be a responsible representative for the subsector, and will do his best to ensure the Election Committee carries out its functions and elects the best people to govern Hong Kong.
On Saturday, many people also submitted forms to run in the subsector of sports, performing arts, culture and publication, which has 30 seats－15 via nomination and the other 15 by election. Lo Winghung, publisher of online news outlet Bastille Post, was among them.
Lo said all who want to serve the city by taking up public office must be patriots. His suggestions for the city's future leader and lawmakers include addressing the acute housing shortage and more farsighted policies to promote sports, the arts and culture.
The term of each Election Committee is five years. The new term of Election Committee 2021 will be from Oct 22 this year to Oct 21, 2026.
Following the subsector elections, the dates have also been set for the election of the 7th Legislative Council of Hong Kong, to be held on Dec 19, and the Chief Executive election, which takes place on March 27.