Chief Executive CY Leung set to survive 'no confidence' vote
But chief executive is not out of the woods yet, with popularity falling and signs of wavering support among pro-establishment lawmakers
Joshua But, Colleen Lee and Tony Cheung
Leung Chun-ying is set to survive today's vote of no confidence in the Legislative Council over illegal structures, despite signs of weakening support from pro-establishment lawmakers.
The beleaguered chief executive's popularity has plunged further in the latest poll conducted a week after he issued a 14-page statement on November 23 about illegal structures at his home on The Peak.
His rating of 49.2 points was 3.1 points down from two weeks ago - the biggest drop since he assumed office in July.
During Monday's question-and-answer session in Legco, Leung apologised five times for his handling of the matter.
But this has failed to put an end to his predicament.
Leung yesterday clarified that one of his controversial remarks on Monday - "In my memory, I did not say I had no illegal structure" - referred to the election debate in March, when he attacked rival Henry Tang Ying-yen's 2,250 sq ft illegal basement in his house in Kowloon Tong. "The remark was not to avoid responsibility. I was only replying to a lawmaker's question," he said.
"As the owner of the house, I am responsible for the illegal structures and I apologise once again for my negligence."
Liberal Party lawmaker James Tien Pei-chun, who asked that question on Monday, said yesterday the party would abstain in today's no confidence vote. He denied the party had come under pressure from Beijing or the central government's liaison office.
"Supporting the motion means we want him to step down," said Tien. "It will create many problems and we decided to give him another chance."
Other pro-establishment parties said they would oppose the motion even though they were dissatisfied with Leung's performance on Monday.
New People's Party's Michael Tien Puk-sun said: "If there is a vote of no respect, I will be the first one to vote for it."
Independent lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun was the only one from the pro-establishment camp who said he would support the motion. The no confidence motion, moved by Democratic Party lawmaker Wu Chi-wai, would require majority support from both functional constituencies and directly elected members to pass.
Wu admitted the chances of it being passed were slim.
Leung also faced more grilling yesterday evening as he attended the second regional forum at Youth Square in Chai Wan before his maiden policy address.
While most of the 20 members of the audience raised suggestions on various issues, including the shortage of public housing and elderly dental care, four questioned Leung on the illegal structures controversy.
They included League of Social Democrats member Wong Ho-ming, who covered his face with a mask of Henry Tang Ying-yen and questioned whether Leung would open his Stanley flat for media inspection.
Shouts of "Down, down, Leung Chun-ying" echoed through the theatre, while his fans chanted: "Support CY!"
On the calls for his resignation, Leung said: "I have heard the voices of those who criticised me. I will humbly review my work and strive for improvement."