HONG KONG, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Conference for Electing Deputies of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) convened its first plenary session on Thursday in preparation for electing 36 deputies to China's top legislature.
Vice chairman and secretary-general of the NPC Standing Committee Li Jianguo, who flew from Beijing to Hong Kong, chaired the first plenary session held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.
In a keynote speech at the plenary session, Li said the first session of the electoral conference signified the official beginning of the election of the HKSAR deputies to the 12th NPC, which is to convene in Beijing to elect new state leaders and discuss state affairs next March.
"Since Hong Kong's return to the motherland (in 1997), Hong Kong compatriots have not only become master of the HKSAR, but master of the country as well. They can participate in the administration of HKSAR affairs with a high degree of autonomy, while electing our deputies to participate in the administration of the state affairs," Li told the 1,621-member electoral conference.
Li said the election is of great importance to the implementation of the principles of "One country, Two systems," Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong and a high degree of autonomy as well as the Basic Law.
"The election is also a guarantee for Hong Kong people's participation in deliberation and administration of state and HKSAR affairs," he noted.
Li said he believed those who love both Hong Kong and the country, adhere to the principle of "One Country, Two Systems" and strictly abide by the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Basic Law of the HKSAR will be elected into the country's top legislature to represent the HKSAR.
The election will proceed by giving full play to democracy, and in an open, fair and just manner, he noted.
Following his speech, 1,244 members of the electoral conference voted for and two voted against the composition of the 19-member presidium, with 24 abstentions. And 4 other members attending the electoral conference did not cast their votes.
The presidium, which will preside over the future meetings of the electoral conference, then held its first meeting, during which HKSAR Chief Executive CY Leung was elected executive chairman of the presidium.
According to a bulletin released by the presidium, the nomination for deputies to the 12th NPC will start on Nov. 24 and end on Dec. 4. Election for 36 deputies representing HKSAR to the 12th NPC will be held on Dec. 19.
The presidium bulletin also made clear that Hong Kong residents of Chinese citizenship aged 18 or above are eligible to contest for the candidacy of the NPC deputies. They need to obtain at least 10 nominations from the total 1,621 members of the electoral conference for their registrations to be effective.
According to the bulletin, the maximum number of the nominees by each electoral conference member will be 36.