Leung Chun-ying

Pan-democrats will table motion to impeach CY Leung

Lawmakers agree to launch bid against chief executive on January 7 - but without backing of pro-establishment camp it looks doomed to fail

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 21 December, 2012, 4:48pm

A movement to impeach the chief executive will be launched in the legislature for the first time since the handover, with 27 pan-democratic lawmakers agreeing to make a symbolic but futile attempt to get Leung Chun-ying out of the job.

The impeachment motion looks doomed from the start, with pro-establishment legislators clearly stating they would not support the motion to be tabled on January 9. But one political analyst said there could still be an outside chance if there was a large turnout for the scheduled January 1 protest and if the anti-Leung sentiment persisted.

The motion, to be tabled by League of Social Democrats lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung, requires majority support from both functional constituencies and directly elected lawmakers to pass.

Over the past two weeks, the pan-democrats have failed in their bids to pass a motion of no confidence and to launch a special inquiry against Leung. The chief executive's integrity came under question after controversies surrounding illegal structures at his home on The Peak.

Civic Party lawmaker Dennis Kwok Wing-hang, who drafted the legal part of the motion with veteran democrat Martin Lee Chu-ming, said there was enough evidence of Leung giving false statements in front of lawmakers when he attended the Legco question-and-answer sessions on July 16 and December 9.

"The chief executive has to be accountable to Legco under the Basic Law," Kwok, also a barrister, said. "On that basis he has breached his constitutional duty and that justified [our motion charging Leung with] dereliction of duty." All 27 pan-democrats have agreed to sign the motion.

According to Basic Law article 73, a motion of investigation could be initiated when one-fourth of 70 lawmakers charge the chief executive with a serious breach of law or dereliction of duty. Upon its passage, the chief justice of the Court of Final Appeal could form an independent investigation committee. A motion of impeachment could then be moved if the committee finds sufficient evidence to substantiate the charges. It will require the support by a two-thirds majority of lawmakers and the result will be reported to the central government for a decision.

The decision yesterday to start the impeachment procedure coincided with Leung's first duty visit to Beijing. But Leung said the topic did not come up when he met Xi Jinping, the general secretary of the Communist Party. "I value the different opinions from Legco and the public. In the future, I will put my focus on the economy and livelihood issues," he said.

Lawmaker Ip Kwok-him, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said the doubts against Leung "did not meet the standard" for an impeachment. Unionist lawmaker Wong Kwok-hing said the impeachment motion was merely a gesture to boost turnout at the January 1 rally.

Chinese University political scientist Ivan Choy Chi-keung said: "The number of people taking to the streets on January 1 will be decisive for the pan-democrats' strategy."