Letters to the Editor

Manipulation of election

     With the reformation of the electoral ordinance several years ago, the legal age for voting was reduced to 18. So, before the transition of the authority, I was able to vote in the 1995 direct election.
     When I read the news of the revision of the electoral ordinance for the election in 1998, I stumbled on the question — what is the voters’ control over the election results?
     It seems that political figures know too well about how to manipulate the so-called “will of the voters” or “opinion of the voters”.
     In the history of democratic countries, which are distinguished by the voting power of the people, there are numerous examples of how the governments or the presidents manipulated the results of elections either by regulating the timing of elections or by revisions of electoral laws.
     The most prominent examples of manipulating the time for election is when the government wins in foreign wars or accomplishes some outstanding achievements.
     As far as I can remember, the Democrats proposed to have an election soon after they had won the Gulf War.
     Another commonly applied way of controlling the election result is the revision of electoral laws. The result of the second to the last election in the United Kingdom, in which the Conservative Party won, was attributed to the changes of the electoral region, according to some analysts.
     And the Conservatives lost this time, solely because their policies were not supported by the people.
     And one more interesting example is the election of the Prime Minister in Israel after the assassination of Rabin.
     Against the wishes of almost all the Western countries, especially those involved in the peace process between the Palestinian and the Israeli governments, Natanyahu won the election.
     Of course many people attributed the results to the anger of the Israeli people toward the peace process, and the impending formation of independent government of Palestinians. However, some analysts argued that the result was also due to the revision of the electoral laws, under which people had to choose the prime minister in addition to the political parties.
     Analysts attributed the loss of Perez to the lack of personal charisma in comparison with Natanyahu.
     The revision of the component of the electorate of the social welfare functional constituency, to include the non-member of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service, is clearly an attempt to manipulate the power structure in the future Legislative Council.
     The election in the next year may be “fair and open”.
     But does that mean the voters can completely control the result, or does the result assure that the future Legislative Council members can really reflect the opinion of people?
     That is the question.

                                                      Name withheld by request

   Letter 2    Letter 3

November 1997

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