Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Right to be nominated

By Mo Jihong (China Daily) Updated: 2011-06-23 07:55

Right to be nominated

Every citizen with political rights can be legally elected as a deputy to the people's congress at county and township level

The new round of local people's congress elections at the county and township level is approaching and has attracted widespread public interest. There's a heated discussion in the media and among netizens about the so-called independent candidates.

The debate reflects the need to explain and protect people's "right to be nominated" in accordance with the law, as under the current institutional framework of China's Constitution and the Election Law, there is no such a thing as an independent candidate.

However, independent candidate is not a legal term, it simply refers to those candidates for deputy to a local people's congress who are directly nominated by voters, rather than nominated by parties or organizations.

According to Article 29, Clause 2 of the Election Law, parities or organizations can singularly or jointly nominate candidates to be deputies to the people's congress and "more than 10 qualified voters can jointly sign to nominate candidates to be a deputy to the people's congress". Eligible candidates can seek nomination by qualified voters, or they can passively accept a nomination.

According to Article 34 of China's Constitution, any Chinese citizen over the age of 18, except those who are deprived of their political rights according to the law, no matter what his or her ethnic background, race, gender, occupation, religion, educational background, financial situation or length of residence, qualifies to vote and be elected.

While it might sound like an independent candidate is one type of candidate, and there is another kind of candidate that is dependent, under China's Constitution and the Election Law there are three steps that all candidates need to fulfill if they are to be elected as a deputy to the people's congress at the county and township level.

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