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Newly elected LegCo means a stable HK
By Tonny Chan (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-14 00:43

A record number of voters turned out for Sunday's Legislative Council (LegCo) elections reshaping the contours of Hong Kong's political landscape in favour of political parties advocating stability and prosperity.

hong kong,legco,election
Ma Lik (centre), chairman of the Democratic Alliance for Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), and his party members celebrate at a news conference yesterday after the results of the Legislative Council elections were announced. The party returned to the political spotlight by winning 12 seats, becoming the largest party in the new legislature.
Recovering from a major setback in the District Council elections last year, the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) returned to the political spotlight by winning 12 seats, becoming the largest party in the new legislature.

In the last legislature, the DAB only had 10 seats.

Chasing closely,the Liberal Party increased its number of seats from seven to 10, of which two were returned by direct elections for the first time in the party's history.

The Democratic Party -- the largest in the last LegCo -- lost two seats to slip to third place.

In Beijing, Chen Zuo'er, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, said Monday that the elections were held in line with the Basic Law and gave rise to the most democratically elected legislature in the history of Hong Kong.

"It again shows that `One Country, Two Systems,' `Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong' and `a high degree of autonomy' have been implemented in the SAR, and Hong Kong people are masters of their own destiny," Chen said.

He added that while economic recovery was gaining momentum in Hong Kong, it was the general wish of the public to develop the economy.

"It is hoped that all the new legislators will honour their oath under the Basic Law, be serious in carrying out their duties and show a high level of responsibility and undertaking while contributing to the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong," Chen said.

For the third time in two days, Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa Monday appealed to the elected legislators for concerted efforts to ensure that Hong Kong's economy continued to prosper and that society remained stable.

Tung told a press conference after the election results were announced that the elections were completed in a fair and open manner and the results were for everyone to be proud of as "the people have made their choices."

Tung was making arrangements to meet with all the elected members today to discuss social, political and economic issues.

"We will most certainly work doubly hard to work with all legislators and members of the public so that we together can promote prosperity and stability in Hong Kong," he said.

He promised that he would review the composition of the Executive Council to take into account the election outcome.

Sunday's elections set new records in both the total turnout and the turnout rate. According to the official count, 1.78 million voters, or 55.63 per cent of the 3.2 million registered voters, cast their ballots.

The previous record came in the 1998 elections with a turnout rate of 53.29 per cent.

Guo Li, a deputy director of the Liaison Office in Hong Kong, hoped that the new legislators could make contributions to Hong Kong's prosperity and stability.

Meanwhile, business leaders and analysts in the SAR also expressed the hope that the new legislators could focus on the SAR's fiscal deficit problem and be rational in helping improve governance.

Marco Mak, head of Tai Fook Securities' research department, said the election results showed those who did not care about the people's welfare and economy were not popular.

Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung said that although there were complaints about election arrangements, the elections were fair and just.

Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission, Justice Woo Kwok-hing, said they would review the design of poll boxes.

Referring to complaints that the number of votes cast and counted was inconsistent in some functional constituencies such as the Social Welfare and Accountancy sectors, Woo said the discrepancies did not affect the result.

He explained: "The result is based on the actual counting of the ballot papers, whereas the figures provided to the public from every polling station every hour are not as accurate as the figures come to from the actual counting of the ballot papers."

He said there were two re-counts for the Accountancy functional constituency and one re-count for the Hong Kong Island geographical constituency.

"If we excluded these re-counts, we should have finished it (the counting) two to three hours earlier."

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