CY Leung may become first chief executive without thanks motion approved for policy addresses
Pan-democrats, who have enough power to vote down proposal, say he did not fulfil his election promises
A traditional motion of thanks for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying’s fifth and final policy address was hanging in the balance as the Legislative Council kicked off a three-day debate on Wednesday.
The vote on the motion is expected to take place on Friday night. If it is voted down, Leung will become the first chief executive since the 1997 handover to fail in receiving any lawmaker recognition for his policy addresses.
Of seven policy addresses by Leung’s predecessor Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, Legco approved the motion of thanks for two.
The city’s first chief executive Tung Chee-hwa received Legco’s approval of the motion for three of his eight annual blueprints.
The motion of thanks will only be approved with a majority of support from lawmakers in both the functional and geographical constituencies.
The pro-establishment camp dominates the former group, while the pan-democrats enjoy a narrow 17:16 margin of advantage in the latter – meaning that if all pan-democrats in the geographical constituency show up to vote or at least force a tie, the motion will be voted down.
The motion of thanks is legally non-binding and has no effect on the implementation of policy proposals.
The three-day debate is divided into five sessions with different policy themes, and the focus on Wednesday was on economic development.
Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu said his group would not support the motion of thanks because Leung failed to address problems such as declining competitiveness in the financial industry and the city’s political divide.
“Leung claimed to have delivered on all the election promises he made five years ago. But is this really so if one looks at issues such as housing … and standard working hours?” Yeung asked.
He also urged current chief executive candidates to reflect on the city’s governance.
“Political division cannot be healed if you rise to power by relying on a single political force,” he added, in reference to Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s strong backing from the pro-Beijing camp.
Democratic Party chairman Wu Chi-wai also dismissed Leung’s policy address as an unsatisfactory report which “claimed to have delivered on unfulfilled promises”.
However, Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said Leung’s final policy address showed that the outgoing chief executive “remained dedicated” to his post.
“We hope the next chief executive and administration can also be as dedicated and proactive in rolling out measures that will benefit the people … They should also continue with the policies proposed in this address,” she urged.
Legco business sector representative Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung also acknowledged that Leung had responded to some of the business community’s demands in the annual blueprint.
“But in the face of economic uncertainties, the government should be doing more to help small and medium-sized enterprises. I expect more initiatives to be rolled out in the budget speech next week,” Jeffrey Lam said.