Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says Legco by-election result won’t change how she governs or handles controversial legislation
- Chief executive brushes off suggestion that win by pro-establishment camp’s Chan Hoi-yan would mean smoother governance
- Loss of Kowloon West seat means pro-democracy camp will be outnumbered 25 to 43 in Legco
Hong Kong’s leader on Tuesday said the pro-establishment camp’s victory in Sunday’s Legislative Council by-election would have no effect on her governance or on her administration’s handling of controversial legislation.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor’s pro-establishment allies cemented their domination of the city’s legislature after former political aide Chan Hoi-yan secured the remaining seat in Kowloon West constituency.
Speaking before meeting the Executive Council, Lam brushed off suggestions that the pro-establishment camp’s win would mean smoother governance.
The loss of the Kowloon West seat means the pro-democracy camp will be outnumbered 25 to 43 in Legco.
Asked if she would take the opportunity to roll out controversial legislation, such as the national security laws required by the city’s mini-constitution, Lam said the results of Sunday’s poll would not change the administration’s course on such matters.
“This particular result of the by-election would not have any material impact on what I have been doing in the last 16 months or so,” Lam said.
The legislation of national security laws requires only a simple majority in Legco to pass, while changes to the legislature’s rule book would require support from both the functional and geographical constituencies in Legco. By losing two seats in the past two by-elections, the pan-democrats have lost their veto power in the geographical constituency.
Lam said she had adopted a very consistent approach in interacting with lawmakers regardless of political affiliation since taking office and that she had frequently attended question and answer sessions at Legco.
Separately, defeated pan-democratic candidate Lee Cheuk-yan discussed the issue of Hongkongers who had not voted on Sunday. The turnout rate was 44.4 per cent – a steep decline from the 58 per cent recorded in Kowloon West during the 2016 Legco general election.
“They think Hong Kong is hopeless – though they are dissatisfied with the pro-establishment camp, they also think the pan-democrats are not very effective,” Lee said on a radio programme on Tuesday.
“It is a difficult situation … citizens do not think we can bring changes.”
The Labour Party stalwart lost to Chan by 13,410 votes in last week’s poll, which had a turnout of more than 216,000 voters.
Lee signalled to his allies in the pan-democratic camp to be more inclusive when it came to young people’s views.
“Beijing has excluded young people from the path to elections,” Lee said.
Since 2016, nine hopefuls, including young politicians such as Demosisto’s Agnes Chow Ting, have been barred from taking part in local elections.
Lee said this exclusion meant Legco was incomplete, as not all parts of the city’s political spectrum were represented in the legislature.
The pan-democrats would have to communicate with the localists and consider if they might bring the localists’ concerns and views into Legco, Lee said.