Legislative Council of Hong Kong

Hong Kong’s pan-dems and localists accused of delaying tactics after lawmakers fail to elect panel heads

Legislators run out of time after querying proceedings during chaotic scenes in Legco last week

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 October, 2016, 10:37pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 October, 2016, 12:23am

Pan-democratic and localist lawmakers were accused of delaying tactics on Tuesday as bickering members still smarting from controversies on the first day of the Legislative Council term last week ran out of time to elect chairmen for five of Legco’s 18 panels.

After the storm surrounding the election of the Legco president and the modified oaths issued by localists, and consequently rejected, as new lawmakers were sworn in, some legislators wanted to revisit the issues before moving on to vote for the panel heads.

At the first such meeting, for the security panel, pan-democrat Leung Yiu-chung repeatedly asked the Legco secretariat to clarify his own role as chairman of the proceedings given the way events unfolded last week during the election of the Legco president.

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He was joined by localist Lau Siu-lai and a few others in questioning the secretariat. The query continued as the second panel started to meet in the room opposite. Leung was then forced to adjourn the security panel meeting as there were not enough councillors present.

“The pro-Beijing camp is trying to take all chairman posts. They are bullying the pan-democratic camp,” Leung said after the meeting ended without a vote.

“The Legco secretariat since last week has not clearly explained to me what power the chairman who chaired the president’s election had, and whether the lawmakers whose oaths were rejected are qualified to vote here.”

Leung, who chaired the president’s election last week as the most senior lawmaker not running for the post, quit in the middle of proceedings.

He later claimed the secretariat had misled him into accepting that he had no right to adjourn the meeting when the incoming president, Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, was unable at that time to produce documents to show he had given up his British nationality, a requirement for the post. Leung was elected amid a walkout by the pan-democratic camp.

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A member of the pan-democratic camp said Lau and Edward Yiu Chung-yim had issued a call after midnight on Monday for the camp to meet at 7.30am on Tuesday to discuss their strategy to grab more chairman posts, but the message failed to reach everyone on time.

Apart from the security panel, the panels on education, manpower, transport and constitutional affairs also ended without votes because of disputes over the voting rights of the several lawmakers whose oaths were invalidated for modifying the words or insulting China.

Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, slammed Leung and others for dragging out proceedings.

Panel chairmen are important as they are responsible for setting the agenda and calling meetings. By close of day the pro-establishment camp had taken control of eight panels, while the pan-democrats and localists had five.