The upcoming subsector elections for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region's Election Committee will create an administering team of patriots who will assume responsibility for local governance and integration into national development, experts said.
The Election Committee's subsector elections will take place on Sunday. This vote will be the first since the 13th National People's Congress, China's top legislature, adopted a decision in March on improving Hong Kong's electoral system in a bid to ensure "patriots administering Hong Kong".
Under the reform, the Election Committee was enlarged to 1,500 members representing five sectors and given more powers, extended from only electing the city's chief executive to also nominating Legislative Council members.
Followed by the polls for the Election Committee, the elections for the Legislative Council, which were delayed last year as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, will take place in December and the election of the chief executive is expected to be held in March.
Tian Feilong, an associate professor at Beihang University's Law School in Beijing, said the polls for the Election Committee will reflect the principle of balanced participation as required by the Basic Law.
Under the premise of "patriots administering Hong Kong", the election will focus more on policy issues on the development of Hong Kong and eliminate the excessive politicization, extremism and populism witnessed in previous elections.
He said Hong Kong's stable development needs a team of patriots who stand by the country's integration plan.
The central government unveiled a plan on Sept 6 to expand Hong Kong's neighboring economic zone of Qianhai in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, from 14.92 square kilometers to 120.56 square kilometers in a move to strengthen ties between Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macao to boost the technology, medicine and finance industries.
Stronger govt needed
The Qianhai plan is another important step to boost the integration of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, a major national economic development strategy. In such a scenario, Tian said Hong Kong needs a stronger and more effective government and Legislative Council to meet the requirements of national strategies and participate in the overall development of the country.
"This new election is the corresponding institutional support for the upgrade of governance requirements. The goal of the electoral system reform is to ensure the stability, quality and orderliness of Hong Kong's democratic development. We expect that this will be realized in this election," he added.
The Election Committee will also be more broadly representative and democratic. Zhang Jian, director of the Hong Kong and Macao Research Section of the Shanghai Institute of International Studies, said the composition of the committee has been expanded from four to five sectors, adding youth representatives, and members of national organizations, grassroots and labor associations.
This broader representation will help to overcome the excessive focus on political issues seen in past elections and shift to broader issues that concern the future development of the city.
"We have seen many ex officio members actively participate in the election by going to the streets to get the views of voters and listen to opinions on the operation of the future Election Committee," he said.
Under the new electoral system, ex officio members of the Election Committee include Hong Kong's deputies to the National People Congress and members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee.
Zhang said this election will be important because it is the first since Hong Kong experienced unrest in 2019, showing that Hong Kong society has overcome its long-term political disputes and returned to the path of development.