Hong Kong Electoral Officials have Overstepped their Boundaries by Barring Pro-independence Candidate

Commentaries and Op-eds August 8, 2016, South China Morning Post

Phil C.W. Chan and Paul Serfaty say the electoral commission’s rejection of Edward Leung as a candidate for the Legislative Council election was unequivocally unlawful.

In an international city famed for its efficiency, the Hong Kong government has managed to turn yet another non-issue into a constitutional controversy.

One of the tenets of democracy is that, subject to objective criteria, everyone has a right to stand for office as a legislator. In Hong Kong, such criteria are clearly laid out in the Basic Law and the Legislative Council Ordinance. The Electoral Affairs Commission should ensure all requirements for candidates and elections are met. Its functions are administrative. If the commission bars an otherwise eligible candidate for political reasons, it undermines its own purpose, impartiality and independence.

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