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CE announces investigation into weekend primaries

2020-07-13 HKT 22:39
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  • CE announces investigation into weekend primaries
The Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, warned on Monday that the opposition camp's primary polls at the weekend could amount to an act of subversion under the new national security law.

Organisers say some 600,000 people took part in the exercise to choose candidates for September's Legco elections.

But Lam says the authorities are investigating after receiving many complaints.

"If this so-called primary election's purpose is to achieve the ultimate goal of delivering what they call a 35-plus, with the objective of objecting to (and) resisting every policy initiative of the Hong Kong SAR Government, then it may fall into the category of subverting the state power, which is now one of the four types of offences under the new national security law," Lam said.

Earlier, the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau said in a statement that the government had received complaints that the pan-democratic weekend primaries "may have allegedly interfered with and manipulated" the elections and jeopardised the integrity of the electoral process.

It said some complaints also alleged that the crowds at the primaries breached the ban on large gatherings and some were concerned at "the lack of protection of personal data collected from the public which might lead to misuse".

A Bureau spokesman added that the ordinance governing elections in the SAR "will not recognise nor approve the format, procedure and results of the so-called 'primaries' held by the pro-democratic camp".

The warnings came as the pan-democrats released preliminary results for the primaries, showing voters favoured young activists and localists over traditional pan-democrats.

Incumbent Democratic Party lawmaker Helena Wong failed to make the cut in Kowloon West, while party chairman Wu Chi-wai barely made it in Kowloon East, and lawmaker Kwok Ka-ki of the Civic Party, squeaked through in New Territories West.

It was a different story for young activists with prominent roles during last year's protests, with both Joshua Wong and Ventus Lau putting on a strong showing.

Legal scholar Benny Tai, who helped organise the primaries, said he was encouraged by the turnout and says the opposition could end up winning 45 seats or more.

Tai also played down fears some losing candidates may refuse to honour the results.

The final results, including votes from some 20-thousand paper ballots, are expected on Tuesday, and Tai said the camp will discuss the results and make their final decisions on candidates later this week.
Last updated: 2020-07-14 HKT 00:11