BEIJING, May 7 — China started elections of lawmakers at the county- and township-levels on Saturday, which granted, for the first time, equal representation in legislative bodies to rural and urban citizens.
More than two million lawmakers at the county- and township-levels will be elected during nationwide elections, held every five years, in more than 2,000 counties and 30,000 townships, according to figures provided by the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, the top legislature.
These are the first elections after the Electoral Law amendments were adopted in March 2010 that require both rural and urban areas to adopt the same ratio of deputies to the represented population in elections of people’s congress deputies.
The previous electoral law stipulated that each rural deputy represented a population four times that of an urban deputy, which was interpreted as “farmers only enjoy one-quarter of the suffrage of their urban counterparts.”
Of note, the difference was even eight times as great under earlier laws.
Statistics show that more than 900 million people will vote for lawmakers at the county level, and more than 600 million citizens will vote for township level candidates.
According to Saturday’s training session on elections, which was jointly held by several departments, including the general office of the NPC Standing Committee, election organizers should follow the principle of “each deputy representing roughly the same population in a constituency.”
Organizers should also safeguard the electoral rights of the country’s 200 million migrant population, who either register in their hometown or in the cities they migrate to.
Efforts should also be made to ensure the elections have broad representation, especially to increase the ratio of workers, farmers, professionals, technicians and women.
The top legislature also requires the ratio be further reduced of Party and government officials being elected as lawmakers.
Additionally, the number of ethnic minority lawmakers should also be ensured, in line with the law.
Violation of the law during the elections should be prevented, according to the training session.