Hong Kong: 'Patriotic' committee formed to choose premier and nearly half of parliament

The 1,500 members of the committee are practically all loyal to Beijing. Yesterday's elections chosen 364 components; 4,380 citizens participated in the vote: in 2016, before the electoral reform, they had been 246 thousand. Democratic front: the Chinese Communist Party fears public opinion.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Thanks to yesterday's elections, the city has a new Election Committee. Until now, the body has had the task of choosing the head of the city's executive; the new "patriotic" electoral law, imposed by Beijing in March, also gives it the power to appoint 40 of the 90 members of Legco, the Parliament of the former British colony, and to examine the legitimacy of the candidates.

After some delays, the authorities released the final results today. Only "patriotic" candidates, short for aligned to the government, were able to run for election. The turnout was 90%, but there were only 4,380 eligible voters (0.06% of the city's population), divided into sub-sectors representing the different interest groups: in 2016, before the electoral reform, there had been 246 thousand. In a clear expression of the current climate in the city, the authorities deployed 5 thousand police during the voting operations.                 

The Committee consists of 1,500 components. The electoral "competition" was attended by 412 candidates for 364 seats. All other seats are government appointed, occupied ex officio or chosen within the sub-sectors. 

Since Hong Kong's return to China in 1997, the pro-Beijing front has consistently dominated the powerful electoral body. With most democratic politicians disqualified, on trial, imprisoned or fled the city following the adoption of the draconian security law, there is almost no independent presence on the Committee.

For pro-establishment forces, the Committee is now "more representative" and will favor the election of parliamentarians who will not obstruct the work of the executive and the central government. Democratic personalities, on the other hand, speak of an "inner circle" election. According to the League of Social Democrats, which has several leaders in prison, "the Chinese Communist Party is afraid of public opinion".

Elections for the renewal of the Legco will be held on December 19, more than a year after they were postponed and the subsequent extension of the incumbent legislators. Parliament is boycotted by Democratic MPs. According to the new electoral law, only 20 members out of 90 will be elected by popular vote; those appointed by the Electoral Committee will be joined by 30 deputies chosen from among the representatives of the professions, also linked to the government.