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Electoral staff to undergo political screening: govt

2021-09-27 HKT 17:25
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  • Electoral staff to undergo political screening: govt
Constitutional and mainland affairs chief Erick Tsang says government staff who work as polling officers in the upcoming Legislative Council elections will have to undergo political screening to ensure "absolute loyalty".

He was responding to DAB legislator Wong Ting-kwong who said during a Legco panel meeting on Monday that "politically unreliable" workers could undermine the fairness of the December polls.

"We have liaised with the Security Bureau. There will be a checking on the staff to make sure that they are going to be absolutely loyal," Tsang said.

"And also, all civil servants have taken an oath to swear allegiance and to be loyal."

Meanwhile, Tsang said his bureau will advise the Electoral Affairs Commission (EAC) on how to improve voting arrangements, after the ballot counting process for last Sunday's Election Committee polls was severely delayed by a series of glitches.

The minister added that the commission, headed by Justice Barnabas Fung, will submit a detailed report to the chief executive within 90 days.

But New People's Party lawmaker Regina Ip called for a more complete overhaul, including a change in the EAC's leadership.

"The advantages of having a judge is that judges impart the impression of impartiality and fairness. But you also need administrative expertise in managing such large-scale elections. I don't think judges are best suited for managing this sort of operation."

In response, Tsang said he will pass on the suggestion to Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who is responsible for appointing the EAC's head.