Electing Hong Kong's Chief Executive

Electing Hong Kong's Chief Executive

Simon N. M. Young
Richard Cullen
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 272
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Electing Hong Kong's Chief Executive
    Book Description:

    In 2007, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region held its first-ever contested election for Chief Executive, selected by 800 members of an Election Committee drawn from roughly 7% of the population. The outcome was a foregone conclusion, but the process allowed a pro-democracy legislator to obtain enough nominations to contest the election. The office of Chief Executive is as unique as the system used to fill the office, distinct from colonial governors and other leaders of Chinese provinces and municipalities. The head of the HKSAR enjoys greater autonomous powers, such as powers to nominate principal officials for Chinese appointment, pardon offenders and appoint judges. Despite its many anti-democratic features, the Election Committee has generated behavior typically associated with elections in leading capitalist democracies and has also gained prominence on the mainland as the vehicle for returning Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress. This book reviews the history and development of the Election Committee (and its predecessor), discusses its ties to legislative assemblies in Hong Kong and Mainland China, and reflects on the future of the system.

    eISBN: 978-988-8053-45-2
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)
    Yash Ghai

    The hostility to democracy by political authorities in Beijing and their allies in Hong Kong is nowhere better illustrated than in the web of rules that govern the representation of the people of Hong Kong in local and national institutions. Best known perhaps is the presence of functional constituency members in the Legislative Council. Elected by a minute proportion of those qualified to vote, they constitute half of its members and for the most part represent interests oriented towards Beijing and Hong Kong business establishments. They vote separately as a group from directly elected members representing geographical constituencies on amendments...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
    Simon NM Young and Richard Cullen
  5. Table of Cases and Legislation
    (pp. xiii-xviii)
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    This book is about how the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) chooses its most powerful political leader, the Chief Executive (CE). On 25 March 2007, almost a decade after the transfer of sovereignty from Britain to China, the HKSAR held its first ever contested election for CE. The body that elected the CE, known as the Election Committee (EC), comprised just 800 individuals.¹ The pool of registered electors eligible to vote into office most of the EC members was made up of 220,307 individuals and corporations, representing only 6.84% of the 2004 Legislative Council (LegCo) registered electorate. The outcome...

  7. 2 History and Development of the Election Committee
    (pp. 9-28)

    In this chapter we first briefly outline the development of Hong Kong’s unique political structure. This overview covers the period from the establishment of British Hong Kong until the current era, following the reversion of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom (UK) to the People’s Republic of China (PRC), when, on 1 July 1997, British Hong Kong became the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) of the PRC.

    Next, we trace the origins of the EC and analyse official justifications for its inclusion in the political structure of the HKSAR. We complete this chapter with a review of...

  8. 3 Significance of the Election Committee in Hong Kong and Mainland China
    (pp. 29-50)

    In Chapter 2, we explained the basic operation of the several ECs established, in accordance with the Basic Law, since 1997. We also examined the creation and operation of the pre-1997 forerunner of the EC, the Selection Committee. In order to understand the genesis of this crucial electoral college system in Hong Kong more clearly, we provided an initial outline of the development of Hong Kong’s unusual political structure.

    In this chapter we review, in more detail, the constitutional and wider political significance of the EC in the HKSAR.² We begin with a short review of some further political-economic context...

  9. 4 System for Electing Election Committee Members
    (pp. 51-76)

    The Basic Law embodies the idea that there should be a representative committee of individuals, known as the EC, responsible for nominating CE candidates and electing (at least up to and until there is universal suffrage) the CE. This chapter takes a closer look at the system of electing the 800 EC members to assess how this idea has materialised. We begin by examining what the Basic Law requires in respect of the EC system. The Basic Law provides no more than general parameters and principles of design. China left the details of the electoral system to be worked out...

  10. 5 System for Electing the Chief Executive
    (pp. 77-92)

    This chapter provides a detailed discussion of the legal and operational dimensions of the prevailing system for electing the CE in the HKSAR. We focus on the system in place arising out of the establishment of the 2006 EC. The operation of the ECs preceding the 2006 EC — and the pre-HKSAR Selection Committee — are dealt with in Chapter 2.

    We begin by considering the significance of being a member of the EC. Next, we provide a synoptic profile of the membership of the 2006 EC. We also look at the eligibility rules for the CE and discuss the methods for...

  11. 6 Conclusions and Reflections
    (pp. 93-104)

    The EC is the child in Hong Kong’s political system. Its birth in 1998 was a milestone as it embodied a system that gave Hong Kong people, for the first time, the power to select the highest political office holder in the HKSAR. Having had only two further elections since that birth (in 2000 and 2006), this child has yet to mature.

    In its infancy the EC elected a small proportion of legislative council members but this ceased after 2000. It has discharged its main function of nominating CE candidates on three occasions, and its other main function of electing...

  12. Table of Abbreviations
    (pp. 105-106)
  13. Appendix 1 Chronology of Key Events
    (pp. 107-112)
  14. Appendix 2 Number of Selection/Election Committee Seats 1996–2006
    (pp. 113-114)
  15. Appendix 3 Number of Election Committee Members by Subsector 1998–2006
    (pp. 115-116)
  16. Appendix 4 History and Description of Election Committee Subsectors
    (pp. 117-124)
  17. Appendix 5 Number of Registered Election Committee Individual and Corporate Electors 1998–2006
    (pp. 125-126)
  18. Appendix 6 Methods for Determining the 2006 Election Committee Electorate
    (pp. 127-128)
  19. Appendix 7 Individual, Corporate & Mixed Voting in the 2006 Election Committee Subsector Elections
    (pp. 129-130)
  20. Appendix 8 Proportion of Subsectors with Corporate, Individual & Mixed Voting in 2006 Election Committee Sectors
    (pp. 131-132)
  21. Appendix 9 Seats and Electorate Share by Subsector 2006
    (pp. 133-134)
  22. Appendix 10 Members of the 1996 Selection Committee
    (pp. 135-150)
  23. Appendix 11 Members of the 1998 Election Committee
    (pp. 151-174)
  24. Appendix 12 Members of the 2000 Election Committee
    (pp. 175-202)
  25. Appendix 13 Members of the 2006 Election Committee
    (pp. 203-222)
  26. Appendix 14 Gender & Age of 2006 Election Committee Members by Subsector
    (pp. 223-224)
  27. Appendix 15 Political Affiliation of 2006 Election Committee Members by Sector
    (pp. 225-226)
  28. Appendix 16 Party Affiliation of 2000 and 2006 Election Committee Members
    (pp. 227-228)
  29. Appendix 17 Details of Election Committee Subsector Elections & By-Elections 2000–2006
    (pp. 229-234)
  30. Appendix 18 Details of 2000 and 2006 Election Committee Subsector Elections by Sector
    (pp. 235-236)
  31. Appendix 19 Details of 2000 and 2006 Election Committee Subsector Elections by Subsector Type
    (pp. 237-238)
  32. Appendix 20 Comparison of Voter Turnout Rates in FC and EC Elections 2000–2006
    (pp. 239-240)
  33. Appendix 21 Allocation of Seats According to Size of 2006 Subsectors
    (pp. 241-242)
  34. Index
    (pp. 243-254)