26 September 2019
FUNG Wah, Barnabas, GBS
Electoral Affairs Commission
10th floor, Harbour Centre,
25 Harbour Road,
By fax to 2827-4644 (Total 4 Pages)
Dear Mr Fung,
On behalf of the Election Observation Project (EOP), which is jointly organized by the Comparative Governance and Policy Research Centre of the Department of Government & International Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University and Civil Rights Observer, I am writing to seek your comments on the following questions:
1. Do you agree or disagree that the existing laws and practices in Hong Kong have satisfied the international standards and codes for free and fair elections?
2. With reference to the previous cases of “disqualification” (DQ), what general advice will you and the consultative committee give to prospective candidates this time around to avoid being disqualified by the Returning Officers (ROs)?
3. Do you agree or disagree when prospective candidates refuse to give consent on the Confirmation Form, the risk of being disqualified by the ROs will increase?
4. What criteria or standards, in your view, should the ROs apply when considering the eligibility of prospective candidates for the elections?
5. In the light of the growing concerns about DQ, have you communicated with the ROs so as to provide better advice to prospective candidates?
Moreover, we should be most grateful if your office can provide us with the followings for the purpose of evidence-based research:
1. We should be grateful if you could provide us with pertinent training materials such as Operation Manual and Code of Conduct for the District Council Election, in order for us to ascertain the nature and level of preparation given to staff who will operate the polling stations on the Election Day.
2. The final registers of electors across the 452 constituencies. Thank you in advance for your kind attention. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
Kenneth Chan 陳家洛, D.Phil. in Politics (Oxon)
Associate Professor, Department of Government and International
Studies and Director, Comparative Governance and Policy Research Centre, Hong Kong Baptist University
Press statement: An Election Observation Project Launched
The Comparative Governance and Policy Research Centre of the Department of Government & International Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University and Civil Rights Observer establish The Election Observation Project (EOP) with an objective to become an independent academic platform for the 2019 District Council election. EOP offers support to election monitoring networks in all the 18 districts in Hong Kong and conducts a comprehensive examination on the electoral process.
EOP will be carried out with reference to international standards for democratic elections—including but not limited to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Code of Conduct for International Election Observers, as well as authoritative international academic research on electoral integrity and election observations in different parts of the world. EOP researchers will examine incidents of electoral malpractice, if any, investigate what cause them, and put forth reform proposals. We encourage civic participation in defense of electoral integrity which in our view has a positive effect on democratic development. EOP makes use of web-based and social media platform and provides civic education activities and workshops in order to encourage concerned citizens across the 452 constituencies to collect and verify information at the district level. We focus on the factors promoting and undermining electoral integrity. For that, EOP intends to provide objective, reliable and evidence-based comments and analyses for Hong Kong society and the international community. We intend to issue public statements throughout the election process to point out any sign of malpractice and to produce the first District Council EOP report, advising measures to consolidate a free and fair election according to International standards and code of practice.
One of EOP’s first actions is to ask the Electoral Affairs Commission and the Returning Officers across the 18 districts what criteria or justifications there may be for disqualifying prospective candidates in the upcoming District Council election.
Meanwhile, we are going to organize a Workshop on 12 October to begin the groundwork for the EOP network. We shall reach out to higher education institutions and engage citizen in the neighborhoods to raise awareness of various forms of electoral malpractice.
As EOP expands its operation and extends its network, we shall disseminate information by means of events, press conference, public statements, media interviews and our web-based platforms. We intend to invite prominent international experts and scholars to act as EOP’s overseas advisors whose roles include overseeing our works on the ground and connecting EOP with our international interlocutors. Citizens are welcome to get in touch via our Facebook page and by email.
Election Observation Project
26 September 2019
Election Observation Project
Dr Kenneth Chan Ka-lok, Associate Professor, Department of Government and International Studies and Director, Comparative Governance and Policy Research Centre, Hong Kong Baptist University
Dr Leung Kai-chi, Part Time Lecturer, School of Journalism and Communication, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Dr Leung Chi-yuen, Teaching Fellow, Department of Applied Social Science, Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Mr Eric Lai Yan-ho, Part Time Lecturer, Department of Government and International Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University Mr Icarus Wong Ho-yin, Member of Civil Rights Observer Mr Andrew Shum Wai-nam, Member of Civil Rights Observer
Telegram Channel: https://t.me/hkeop
Contact: Mr Eric Lai