Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Monday hailed the newly-elected Legislative Council, saying the poll winners are broadly representative of the people, while acknowledging that the turnout rate for the directly-elected geographical constituency seats was lower than in the past.
In Sunday’s polls, 30.2 percent of registered voters cast their ballots, compared to 58.2 percent in 2016, when 2.2 million people voted.
“If you just talk about the turnout rate, it’s a bit lower than in the past. But it cannot be said that this is not a very important election that had the support of many citizens, as 1.35 million registered voters came out to cast ballots,” she said.
The Chief Executive further noted that a record 4.47 million people had registered as voters, comprising 92.5 percent of the total eligible population.
“Under a political system that does not mandate people to register as electors or to vote, 92.5 percent is a very high base,” she added.
Lam said she doesn't know why millions of people didn't bother to vote this time, but added that she didn't expect everyone to understand and agree with the revamped electoral system straight away and more work needs to be done on this.
However, she said the new crop of legislators are broadly representative, and the composition of the revamped body is “very good.” As such, she said she looks forward to “cooperating sincerely” with them.
The CE also said people should not be proud of a high turnout – like the one seen in 2019 when pro-democracy candidates secured landslide victories in district council polls – if the reasons behind it are a highly polarised society and a "worsening quality of politics".
At the time, Lam had "sincerely thanked" the public for their active participation in the district council polls, but she swept aside her past comments.
"Things and people change a lot over a decade. During my four-and-a-half-term, I have braved many storms. I have fully realised the political situation in Hong Kong. So if you asked me today about what I said in 2017, 2018, 2019 as chief executive, I can tell you it's meaningless," she told reporters.
The CE was asked what she made of two non-ethnic Chinese candidates failing to get elected in Sunday's polls. She replied that she couldn't order people who to vote for, and the new legislature will still have diverse representation.
"Which candidates that voters would choose, it's a question of the voters, not the government. What we like to see is of course people from different backgrounds, but it's not for me to impose my own expectations or requirements on the voters."
Last updated: 2021-12-20 HKT 15:34