Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

Election regulator will neither ‘judge in advance’ nor ‘forbid’ Benny Tai’s Thunderbolt Plan

Chairman of the Electoral Affairs Commission Barnabas Fung Wah has said that the Commission will neither “judge in advance” nor “forbid anyone from doing what they think can be done,” in relation to the so-called Thunderbolt Plan.

The plan was announced in early February by University of Hong Kong assistant professor of law Benny Tai Yiu-ting. It calls for pan-democrats to cooperate to obtain more than half the seats in the Legislative Council elections in September.

Barnabus Fung

Barnabas Fung Wah. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

Tai plans to “invite citizens who are not pro-establishment into the plan, to receive first hand election news [and] understand the latest election trends. [This is] so that they can make a strategic vote and increase the chances of non-pro-establishment candidates winning the election and reach the goal of [the non-pro-establishment] winning more than half the seats in the Legislative Council.”

Fung said that the commission was in charge of “arranging elections, monitoring elections and [producing] a lot of election guides to explain [laws]… ” but anyone can also interpret the laws in their own way to do what they think is appropriate.

Benny Tai june 4 vigil tiananmen 2016

Benny Tai. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Pro-Beijing newspaper Wenweipo said last week that if the Thunderbolt Plan tells voters who to vote for in the last stages of the election, such as on the day of voting, it could constitute an obstruction of candidates from winning an election.

The pro-democracy Hong Kong Association for Democracy and People’s Livelihood party have expressed open support for Tai’s plan. “Umbrella Soldier” group Youngspiration, formed after the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy protests, have also expressed interest in supporting the plan.

Election regulator will neither 'judge in advance' nor 'forbid' Benny Tai's Thunderbolt Plan