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Friday, October 9, 2015, 17:22

Pro-establishment camp takes House Committee top posts

By Kahon Chan/

HONG KONG - The pro-establishment camp has taken both chairman and vice-chairman posts of the House Committee in the Legislative Council (LegCo) for the first time since 1998.

Pro-establishment members in the city's legislature have always dominated in number, but the vice-chairman post has always been left to the choice of the minority opposition camp in a bid to maintain formal contacts between the opposition and the executive branch.

In a Friday vote, lawmakers picked Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen of the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong Economic Synergy as the House Committee chairman, and Ma Fung-kwok of the New Century Forum as vice chairman.

The House Committee oversees agenda and creation of committees in the LegCo. Both of its chairman and vice-chairman meet the Chief Secretary for Administration regularly for the management of legislative affairs.

The vice-chairman of House Committee is also third in the rank inside the LegCo, in which he would preside over chamber meetings if both the president and House Committee chairman are not available.

The opposition chose Sin Chung-kai of the Democratic Party this year to succeed outgoing Ronny Tong Ka-wah for the vice-chairman post, but the candidate was rejected by the pro-establishment counterparts for being too radical.

Despite support by the pro-business Liberal Party, not all of Sin's supporters were present at the Friday vote. Sin eventually lost to Ma at a wide margin of 27 to 32.

Actual impact of the dominance by the pro-establishment camp is unclear yet, as it was revealed in this year's electoral reform that some opposition legislators have had informal communications with certain top officials in the administration.

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