The Basic Law (BL) is the constitutional document of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It provides the guarantees to maintain our existing way of life, including socio-economic development, the rights and duties of Hong Kong people, the rule of law and other areas. The Basic Law was put into effect on July 1, 1997.
Q: Do Hong Kong residents have the right to vote and to stand for election?
A: Persuant to Article 26 of the BL, permanent residents of Hong Kong have the right to vote and stand for elections in accordance with law. The National People’s Congress (NPC) made the Decision on Improving the Electoral System of the HKSAR (the Decision) on 11 March 2021 and laid down the fundamental principles for amending Annexes I and II to the Basic Law, including “upholding HKSAR permanent residents’ right to vote and the right to stand for election in accordance with law”. The Standing Committee of the NPC had made careful consideration and balance of these rights in amending Annexes I and II to the Basic Law, in order to establish a political structure that upholds the “one country, two systems” principle, reflects the actual situation of Hong Kong and ensures “patriots administering Hong Kong”. It should be noted that the right to vote as safeguarded by Article 26 of the Basic Law should be construed with other relevant provisions in the Basic Law in their entirety, in particular Articles 45, 68 as well as Annexes I and II of the Basic Law. Articles 45 and 68 provide that the methods for selecting the Chief Executive and forming the Legislative Council shall be specified in the light of the “actual situation in the HKSAR” and in accordance with the “principle of gradual and orderly progress”. The design of electoral system and the right to vote should be implemented in the light of the actual situation in the HKSAR. (BL Articles 26; 45; 68; Annexes I and II)