An elite group of Hong Kongers voted yesterday to pick members of a committee that will choose the territory's next leader.
Pro-democracy groups hope to win enough seats in the committee to be able to nominate a candidate for the leadership race.
But few expect the vote -- which only 204,000 registered voters can participate in -- will give pro-democracy candidates control of the 800-member election committee. The panel has been traditionally composed of figures loyal to Beijing.
Nearly half -- or 373 -- of the seats have been determined because races are uncontested or the electors are appointed. However, competition is still keen with 803 candidates contesting 427 seats in 23 subsectors.
The contested seats have been allocated to professional or civic organizations representing groups such as accountants, educators, lawyers and laborers.
Elections chief Pang Kin-kee (彭鍵基) said yesterday that he expected the turnout rate to be higher than the previous election in 2000.
"I believe the election will be fiercer this time. The weather is also good today. I think the turnout rate will be higher than the 19 percent of last time," Pang said.
In the first 10 hours of voting -- until 5:30pm -- 34,804, or 17.01 percent, of the 204,000 registered voters had cast their votes. Polling stations were scheduled to close at 10pm. Results were not expected until early today.
"Today's selection of members who will represent the various subsectors of the Election Committee is the first milestone down the road to election of the next chief executive. It is therefore a very important day for Hong Kong," former No. 2 official Anson Chan (陳方安生) said in a statement yesterday.
Pro-democracy parties were backing 137 candidates that support full democracy for the territory by 2012. The pro-democracy camp was hoping that enough candidates would win seats on the panel to support its candidate, Legislator Alan Leong (
‘WEAK POSITIVE’: The man arrived in Taiwan in May and was quarantined for two weeks, Chen Shih-chung said, adding that he might be infected a long time ago The government is considering tightening mask-wearing rules again in light of a potential domestic COVID-19 infection, Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中) said yesterday. The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) confirmed seven new COVID-19 cases, six of which are imported. The other case involves a Belgian engineer who entered Taiwan on May 3 and remained in quarantine until May 17, said Chen, who heads the CECC. Although the source of infection has yet to be identified, the case could end the nation’s record of not having any domestic cases in the previous 110 days. The Belgian, in his 20s, is a technician
BRIBERY CASE: President Tsai Ing-wen accepted Su Jia-chyuan’s resignation as he said that he deeply regretted causing trouble for the president due to the investigation Presidential Office Secretary-General Su Jia-chyuan (蘇嘉全) yesterday resigned after his nephew, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清), was implicated in a bribery case related to a dispute over the ownership of Pacific Sogo Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨). “I resigned from the post so that President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would not be bothered by it anymore, and the prosecutors can investigate the case in a fair and just manner. I thank President Tsai once again for supporting me. May the country continue to prosper under her leadership,” Su Jia-chyuan said in a statement. The Presidential Office said that Tsai has accepted
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did