No winners as Legco filibuster comes to an end
Lawmakers across the political spectrum said yesterday that no one stood to gain after an 11-day debate triggered by radical legislators' filibustering came to an end.
Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing's move to halt the filibuster over the budget bill was nevertheless met with defiance.
The League of Social Democrats' "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung said he might file a judicial review while People Power's Wong Yuk-man threatened to launch more filibusters unless lawmakers endorsed his call for a debate on Tsang's decision.
The filibuster - in the form of 710 amendments that delayed the passing of the budget bill - was a bid to force the government to include a universal pension scheme and a HK$10,000 cash handout in the bill.
"We lost, but those who won will pay the price … I'll move a no-confidence motion against Tsang," said Wong.
If pro-government legislators rejected his call to debate the Legco head's role, there would be "a filibuster every Friday on funding proposals in the finance committee".
The pro-establishment camp applauded Tsang's move to end the filibuster. But pro-government lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun said the situation benefitted no one. "It pushed Legco towards a more chaotic situation," he said.
Civic Party's Ronny Tong Ka-wah worried that Legco's reputation would suffer because of the delaying tactics.
"The administration bears no smaller responsibility than the radicals because they have been raising the bargaining chips," he said. "I fear our popularity will decline because people will feel we are wasting time."
After filibustering was halted, lawmakers were to vote on the more than 700 amendments. When the meeting ended at just before 10pm, lawmakers had voted on about 180 of these, all of which were defeated. The meeting will resume this morning.
Nearly all 27 pan-democrats boycotted the voting session at yesterday's meeting in protest against Tsang's "unreasonable" move. Leung and People Power's Raymond Chan Chi-chuen were two of the few who remained to move the amendments.
Before the meeting, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying welcomed Tsang's decision to end the filibuster.
"I hope all lawmakers can fulfil their duties and finish the normal scrutiny and voting on the appropriation bill as soon as possible," he said, adding that policy proposals - many of them livelihood-related - were stacking up because of the delay.
Meanwhile, a wall outside the Tuen Mun office of People Power's Albert Chan Wai-yip was defaced yesterday. Chinese characters saying "filibustering, really shameful" were spraypainted in blue on the wall.
Police have classified the case as criminal damage.