Election Observation Mission Report

Friday, December 6, 2019 3:17 PM

A group of volunteers from Hong Kong organised an independent observation mission to observe the Sixth District Council Election (the “Election”) in Hong Kong, which took place on 24 November 2019.

The Mission consisted of a team of leading politicians and human rights experts, including in alphabetical order: Dr. Mantas Adomėnas (Lithuania), Mrs Viktorija Adomėnienė (Lithuania), Lord David Alton (UK), Mr. Christoffer Karlsson (Sweden), Mr. Kenny Chiu (Canada), Ms. Vicki Dunne (Australia), Ms. Cille Hald Egholm (Denmark), Mr. Niko Grünfeld (Denmark), Ms. Malene Møller Hall (Denmark), Ms. Signe Bøgevald Hansen (Denmark), Professor Kenji Isezaki (Japan), Mr. Olle Johnsson (Sweden), Mr. Andrew Khoo (Malaysia), Ms. Miriam Lexmann (Slovakia), Ms. Simona Mohamsson (Sweden), Mr. Michael Palicz (USA), Mr. Luke de Pulford (UK), Mr. Thomas Rohden (Denmark) and Ms. Emmy Scilaris (Sweden).

The EOM was co-organised by “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong.” and “Hong Kong Story”, two non-governmental organisations established by Hongkongers who have been proactively advocating for international support for the city’s fight for freedom and democracy.

The EOM had three objectives:

  1. To allow independent observers to monitor whether the election is conducted in a fair and transparent way, and whether conditions are conducive to the safe exercise of the rights of political participation;
  2. To enable independent observers to assess the viability of a peaceful and sustainable resolution to the ongoing crisis through existing political mechanisms; and
  3. To facilitate the sharing of recommendations from experts and politicians as to how the Hong Kong government and the people of Hong Kong can seek a medium- and long-term resolution to the current crisis.

The delegates were pleased to witness an unprecedented voter turnout for the Sixth District Council Election. They further believed that such an impressive turnout indicated an unmistakable desire on the part of the people of Hong Kong to make their voices heard within a partially democratic system, notwithstanding the current socio-political climate. By participating in district-level election in such numbers, Hongkongers across the city showed their insistence to find a political solution to the current impasse. The delegation also noted that in light of the ongoing political crisis, the turnout reflects Hongkongers’ aspiration for full universal suffrage and genuine democracy, on the level of the Legislative Council and beyond.

The EOM delegation offered the following recommendations for consideration and action of the HKSAR Government:

  • Uphold the freedom of speech, which is fundamental to any free and fair election;
  • Assess the feasibility of the establishment of an independent electoral committee to oversee elections;
  • More protection should be given to the candidates when requested;
  • Review and clarify the role of domestic and international observers, and empower these observers to conduct impartial observations and give recommendations to enhance transparency;
  • Regulate the discretionary power of officers presiding over polling stations by issuing a stringent and rigorous set of standards and protocols, in line with international standards;
  • Minimize the waiting and queuing time for voting by increasing the number of polling stations in a constituency; and
  • The police should not be involved in the mechanics of the electoral process.

The full report of the Independent Election Observation Mission to Hong Kong, including observations and additional recommendations, can be downloaded here.