Sunday's election to return the seventh-term Legislative Council marks a historic moment for Hong Kong: It officially ushers in the new era of "patriots administering Hong Kong", which brings renewed hope for social stability and prosperity.
A total of 153 candidates are vying for the 90 seats of the expanded LegCo. This time the candidates come from a much wider spectrum of societal strata and with more diverse backgrounds than in all previous elections. This gives the voters more choices in selecting candidates who they believe share their values and principles; and will allow the needs and opinions of the public to be fully reflected and taken into consideration in future legislation works. Indeed, the new electoral system has the interest and well-being of all sectors of society, especially the grassroots, as a top priority.
Of the 153 candidates, there are old faces as well as many new faces. Many voters may not be familiar with the profiles or backgrounds of some candidates. In the last few weeks, they have worked endlessly at street stations and candidate introduction sessions to promote and publicize their political manifestos to the public, hoping to get their messages across loud and clear.
I have been fortunate enough to attend two of these sessions and have been pleasantly surprised. Despite many candidates being first-time participants, they have proved to be very well spoken, clear-minded and with many interesting new policy proposals in place. It is a breath of fresh air to see so many youthful, new candidates, and I believe that their energy and enthusiasm will bring a much-needed jolt of life to Hong Kong's political scene.
I would encourage all voters to take this opportunity to go and meet some of the candidates and to familiarize themselves with their political manifestos. With the diverse mix of candidates, I am sure that there will be one or two whose values and beliefs will resonate with each voter. The voters should grasp this opportunity to cast their ballots for someone they believe can best represent their interests in the legislature.
I sincerely encourage all voters to do their homework and read the platforms of the candidates vying for a seat in their constituency, particularly those youthful, energetic candidates with the best interests of society at heart
Unfortunately, there have been calls from some quarters of society, as well as from some biased foreign media outlets, to boycott the election or cast blank ballots. I cannot comment upon the legality of such actions as that is a question for the authorities to decide upon. However, I can say with much confidence that it would be a very uneducated decision and action on their part. As noted above, there are 153 candidates, many of whom are new faces and many who come from different sectors and quarters of society. They all have very differing political platforms representing various interests.
I doubt that those critics of the new electoral system have listened to, or thoroughly read and understood, the platforms of all 153 candidates at all. How could they say there are few candidates who share the same values and interests as them? To suggest a blanket opposition of all the candidates is to rob the voters of the opportunity to get to know the candidates and choose a candidate they prefer.
Furthermore, some people have been talking about a low turnout rate. But a low turnout rate does not necessarily represent a rejection of an electoral process or poll results. Turnout in the 2014 US House of Representatives midterm elections was the lowest since 1942, at 36.4 percent. However, no one ever claimed that the poll result reflected a loss of confidence in the US electoral process. There are normally fluctuations in the turnout rates. It is only natural for the public to take time to familiarize themselves with a new electoral system.
I sincerely encourage all voters to do their homework and read the platforms of the candidates vying for a seat in their constituency, particularly those youthful, energetic candidates with the best interests of society at heart. With the full support of the central authorities, the new legislators will have the resources and means to improve the livelihood and well-being of Hong Kong residents.
The author is a CPPCC National Committee member, an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, and co-founder of the Hong Kong Coalition.
The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.