Lawmakers to battle for panel and subcommittee posts

Pro-establishment and pan-democrat members to battle it out after consensus efforts fall short

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 13 October, 2012, 4:42am

Beijing-loyalist lawmaker continue to scramble for Legco posts, and have turned their focus to the chairmanships of 20 panels and subcommittees.

They are set for at least four head-to-head challenges with the pan-democrats, having already grabbed the three major posts in the first session on Wednesday.

The pan-democrats have sought to reach consensus with their rivals. One idea was for the pan-democrats to be allowed to keep the panel chairmanships they have held for the past four years, while splitting others so each camp gets two years at the helm. The two sides agreed to split some panel chairmanships, including health services, housing and welfare.

But the Democratic Party's Emily Lau Wai-hing, who on Wednesday lost her bid to remain chairwoman of the finance committee, said the two camps failed to agree who should head three panels - constitutional affairs, transport and legal affairs - and the public works subcommittee. She described their attitude as "unmerciful".

Lau will challenge Tam Yiu-chung, leader of the Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, for the chairmanship of the constitutional affairs panel.

Three Civic Party lawmakers - Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, Kwok Ka-ki and Alan Leong Kah-kit - will take on independent Priscilla Leung Mei-fun and the DAB's Chan Kam-lam for the chairmanships of the legal affairs and transport panels and the public works sub-committee.

Given the pan-democrats have only 27 seats and the Beijing loyalists 43, the latter have more chance of winning.

Leung defended her bid for the legal affairs panel's chairmanship, saying: "I believe a panel in Legco must not only reflect a party, a clique or a sector's interest. I would fight for better legal services for the people."