Edward Leung Tin-kei, one of the five candidates who was barred from running in the LegCo election for their political stances, has said he will lodge an election petition to challenge the decision to reject his nomination after election results are gazetted.
A media liaison assistant for Andy Chan Ho-tin, the Hong Kong National Party convenor who was barred from the election for advocating Hong Kong independence, told HKFP that Chan may also lodge an election petition after the results are printed in the gazette, the Hong Kong government’s official record.
Their petitions, if successful, may overturn the results and trigger re-elections for Legislative Council seats, at least in the constituencies they were originally nominated in.
Leung was barred despite having distanced himself from his previous pro-independence stance, as the returning officer for the New Territories East constituency did not accept that he truly gave up his position and that he will uphold the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution.
Leung, speaking on a RTHK radio programme on Tuesday, said he was “too busy” campaigning for Youngspiration localist candidate Sixtus “Baggio” Leung Chun-hang during the election, which is why he has yet to apply for legal aid.
Volunteers with his group also found that the number of votes counted at a counting station did not match the number of votes cast, he said.
Therefore, he planned to lodge an election petition after the results are officially recorded to challenge both the rejection of his nomination and the counting discrepancy.
Andy Chan was barred from running in the New Territories West constituency.
Multiple factors in play
Nakade Hitsujiko, another candidate barred from running in the same area, wrote on social media that he will not actively lodge an election petition, but he will be happy to see Chan lodging one.
Former lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan, also a lawyer, said the operation of the new legislative term would not be affected while the petition is being handled, reported Stand News.
He said there is a high chance the petition will go through – which may trigger a re-election – but he added that a lot of factors will be in play, including potential interference from the central government. He can’t anticipate the final result, Ho said.
But barrister Ronny Tong Ka-wah, a former lawmaker, said a re-election may not occur even if the petition is successful, as the court may consider multiple factors such as benefit to society and the time remaining in the Legislative Council term.
Tong said hearings for an election petition may take between a year to three years.