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Tung Chee Hwa casts vote in District Council elections
( 2003-11-23 14:10) (Xinhua)

Hong Kong Special AdministrativeRegion (HKSAR) Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa cast his vote at a polling station at St. Joseph's College Sunday morning in the city's 2003 District Council elections.

Tung told reporters after casting his vote that District Councils and council members have been playing an important role in the district affairs and serving as bridges between the HKSAR government and local residents.

He expected coordinated efforts from the council members for improvement of community environment and promotion of recreationaland cultural activities, in an effort to let all residents have a better life in their residential areas.

Sunday is the polling day for Hong Kong's District Council elections. A total of 423 polling stations across Hong Kong are open from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. for about 2.4 million electors to cast their vote in the 2003 District Council elections.

Tung required all members of the District Councils to cooperatewith the SAR government and reflect more opinions of local residents so as to enable the government to improve administration.

The Chief Executive also urged all registered voters to exercise their civic right to vote on the polling day and elect members who can best represent their interest.

Soon after Tung's voting, Patrick Ho Chi-ping, secretary for the Civil Service, also went to the polling station at the St. Joseph's College for voting.

He said the District Council members' suggestions to the government reflect residents' expectations and requirement. The SAR government always collects citizens' suggestions before the adopting of major policies.

Ho said the District Councils have to review their roles constantly, in order to better meeting the requirements of the residents.

Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission Woo Kwok-hing, whoalso cast his vote Sunday morning, hoped that the candidates and their campaign assistants could "observe the rules and compete fairly."

He urged them to be cautious in conducting canvassing activities.

Justice Woo and the other two members of the commission, NormanLeung and Elizabeth Shing, will inspect polling stations in Hong Kong's 18 districts to see how the electoral activities are going.

The commission also opened 10 telephone lines to receive publiccomplaints on breaches of electoral guidelines. The services will be extended from Sunday morning until 10:30 p.m. when the polls close.

Another 80 hotlines are open for public by the commission to offer consultations for voters.

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