Friday, November 28, 2014

Election of the Chief Executive

The Chief Executive (CE) is the top government official in Hong Kong. The office of the CE and its powers are provided by the Basic Law (the constitutional document of Hong Kong). The CE is responsible for a wide variety of functions, including deciding government policy, introducing bills and appointing other key officials and judges.

Who can be Chief Executive?
Technically anyone can be CE, as long as they meet the following requirements:
  • at least 40 years old
  • permanent resident of Hong Kong with no right to abode (live) in any foreign country 
  • has ordinarily resided in Hong Kong for a continuous period of at least 20 years
  • be a person of integrity and dedicated to his or her duties

How is the Chief Executive elected?
The CE is elected through an electoral college. What this means is that ordinary HK citizens do not get to vote for the CE. Instead, they are represented by a group of electors, known as the Election Committee.

The Election Committee is comprised of 1200 members, divided evenly between the four major sectors (commerce, professional, social and political). These four major sectors are further divided into smaller sub-sectors. The number of seats for each sub-sector varies. Most of the sub-sectors have internal elections in which citizens and entities can choose their representatives to be on the Election Committee.

After the members of Election Committee are selected, they will then nominate candidates for CE. Each member is allowed to nominate one person. Any candidate with 150 or more nominations will be allowed to run in the election for CE.

On election day, only members of the Election Committee get to vote for CE. The winning candidate must receive an absolute majority (50% + 1) of the votes to win. If no one receives the required amount of votes, a run-off is held with the candidate that received the lowest number of votes dropped from the ballot.

The final step of the election process is for the Chinese government to officially appoint the Chief Executive-elect to the office.

Stay tuned for the next post on electoral reform!

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