HONG KONG (CHINA DAILY/ ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Voting is underway in Hong Kong as members of 25 subsectors representing various trades and professions are choosing their representatives for an Election Committee which will select the city's next chief executive in 2017.
Some 1,239 candidates from 25 electoral subsectors are vying for 733 seats on the 1,200-member Election Committee in Sunday's (Dec 11) voting.
Hong Kong's Basic Law stipulates that the Chief Executive should be elected through a broadly representative Election Committee and appointed by the Central People's Government.
The Election Committee members serving a five-year term come from four big sectors, comprising 38 subsectors representing various trades, professions, labour and social welfare groups as well as district organisations.
A total of 461 members of the committee have already been automatically elected this year, including those who faced no contest from 13 subsectors and ex-officio members of the committee, such as legislators and Hong Kong deputies to the National People's Congress (NPC).
The remaining six seats of the 1,200-member committee are either null or vacated for various reasons. They include two ex-legislators who were disqualified in November by a court for declining to take the required Legislative Council (LegCo) oaths accurately, thus violating the Basic Law. The two also lost their seats on the Election Committee.
Chief Executive Leung Chun Ying, who is an eligible voter in the Architectural, Surveying and Planning sector, cast his vote Sunday morning.
Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission Barnabas Fung Wah told reporters around 11 am that the commission has yet to receive any complaints concerning the election.
This year, more than 230,000 registered voters are eligible to cast their ballots at 119 polling stations citywide, between 7.30am and 10.30pm.
As of 1.30 pm Sunday, the turnout rate was 15.18 per cent, with 35,174 votes cast.
Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi Yuen expected the turnout rate would exceed the last election, as each sector has seen growing turnout rate.
In some subsectors, the voter turnout rate is several times the rate in corresponding period during the last election in 2011.
Ballots will be delivered to the central counting station at Asia World-Expo to be counted, once the polls close.