Political analyst Ma Ngok warned on Wednesday that Beijing’s overhaul of Hong Kong’s electoral system will make people far less interested in participating in elections, as they will doubt whether their votes still matter.
Ma, a Chinese University associate professor, said with people’s choice of candidates limited, there will be less interest than there was in the 2019 district council elections.
And, he said, with a historic low percentage of lawmakers elected by ordinary voters, public opinion will not be an important consideration when the government formulates policies.
Ma added that the pro-democracy camp may no longer mobilise professionals to take part in the race for seats on the election committee, which selects the chief executive and now has also been expanded and given the power to nominate all lawmakers and elect 40 of them.
District councillors, who accounted for 117 places in the election committee, will no longer be part of the expanded 1,500-member committee.
Pro-establishment heavyweight Lau Siu-kai said "mild democrats" or "loyal opposition" will have more opportunities in local politics, as the electoral changes only target those who are anti-China and want to ruin Hong Kong.
The vice-president of Beijing's top think tank on Hong Kong said it should not be too difficult for mild democrats to obtain nominations from the election committee because Beijing would want diversity in Legco.
Hong Kong's sole delegate on the country's top legislative body, Tam Yiu-chung, meanwhile, said there will be genuine competition in future elections, although the election committee will only be able to nominate a maximum of 150 lawmaker candidates for 90 seats.
He said eligible candidates will have to be of competence to be able to meet higher standards with more rounds of vetting.
Analyst expects voters to lose interest in elections
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