HONG KONG, Sept. 9 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong 2012 Legislative Council (LegCo) election began at 7:30 am local time on Sunday and will end 15 hours later at 10:30 p.m.
The voting is proceeding in 549 polling stations located in Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and New Territories. A total of 70 LegCo members will be returned, including 35 directly elected members from the five geographical constituencies and 35 from functional constituencies.
The number of seats in the new LegCo term, spanning from 2012 to 2016, increased by ten, with five to be contested in the five geographical constituencies, while the other five to be elected directly in the functional constituency for district councils, which was dubbed as "super seats", treating Hong Kong as a single constituency.
With the introduction of the new functional constituency for district councils, of about 3.46 million registered electors, about 3.22 million electors can cast one ballot each in their respective geographical constituency and "super seats", and about 218,000 registered electors of the 14 contested functional constituencies can vote for their respective functional constituency while casting another vote in their respective geographical constituency.
Hong Kong's Electoral Affairs Commission Chairman Justice Barnabas Fung said Saturday that sufficient manpower has been arranged to ensure the efficient management of the polling stations and the counting process. About 22,000 staff members will participate in the polling and counting work, of which about 3,000 will help with the vote count at the Central Counting Station.
The final results are expected to be unveiled as early as Monday at the Central Counting Station.
The LegCo is the Legislature of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR). Under the Basic Law, the SAR is vested with legislative power and LegCo is the legislature of the Region. The main functions of LegCo are to enact laws, control public expenditure, and monitor the work of the government. LegCo is also given the power to endorse the appointment and removal of the judges of the Court of Final Appeal and the Chief Judge of the High Court, as well as the power to impeach the Chief Executive.