(To watch the full media session with sign language interpretation, click here.)
Chief Executive Carrie Lam today said it is impossible to hold a by-election of any district council vacancies within the term of the current Government as there are three important elections in the upcoming months.
More than 200 serving district council members have resigned recently, resulting in some district councils being left with only a few members.
At a media session ahead of the Executive Council meeting this morning, Mrs Lam noted that the district councils are no longer fully functional as originally conceived.
“District councils, by virtue of the law and as provided for under the Basic Law Article 97, are advisory bodies. So they will perform when the Government seeks their advice. They will perform when the Government provides them with funding and wants to consult them on where to spend the money either for community involvement or for doing minor works.
“So with a lesser number of members on the district council, that means that some of the district councils are not fully representative of the people in that particular district.”
She added that area committees and district offices under the Home Affairs Department are now more proactive in handling district issues.
“Area committees are now taking on a more active role to provide advice to the Government, and to, sort of, talk to us about the problems in their respective districts and district offices are now more proactive in reaching out to the various constituents, especially those with long-standing problems.
“And the Government will of course, through the various departments and what we call the DMCs (district management committees), address the district problems. And I believe those remaining district council members will continue to do their role.”
The Chief Executive pointed out that with three upcoming elections there was not enough time to hold another poll to fill the vacant district council seats.
“In the next nine to 10 months, Hong Kong will have to go through three important elections – the Election Committee Subsector Elections in September this year, followed by the Legislative Council General Election in December, and then the Chief Executive Election in March next year.
“We do not feel there is sufficient room and time for another set of by-elections, especially of this magnitude, because of the number of seats involved.
“So I could say that it will be almost impossible for us to mount a by-election of any district council vacancies between now and the end of this term – that is the Government’s term between now and June.
“But of course by July next year the district councils will still have another 18 months of service. Then the question has yet to be dealt with.”