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Thursday, September 29, 2016, 00:28

Calls for LegCo president candidates to be nominated by vote

By Luis Liu and Li Yinze

HONG KONG - Candidates for the head of the new-term Legislative Council should be nominated through a fair contest in the patriotic camp, two of the potential contestants said.

Independent lawmaker Paul Tse Wai-chun and the New People’s Party’s Michael Tien Puk-sun said they hope the future president could have stronger mandate and a more inclusive manner when dealing with controversial issues.

The LegCo president is elected by and from the members, and presides over all council meetings and exercises the powers and functions according to the Rules of Procedure.

On a local radio program on Wednesday, Tien expressed his hopes to conduct a closed-door meeting and have anonymous vote among lawmakers from the patriotic camp. He said fair play would help unite the camp.

He made the call after veteran lawmaker Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, from the business sector, was widely seen as a successor to outgoing president Jasper Tsang Yok-sing.

Tien said he felt it was more appropriate for a directly elected lawmaker to chair the legislature. This has been a tradition since 1997.

Tse agreed, saying a LegCo president has to face the public and acquire a mandate from different types of people.

Tien and Tse were both elected directly in geographical constituencies, while Leung was through the Industrial (First) functional constituency without contest since 2004.

Meanwhile, Leung’s tough approach toward controversial issues also concerned them along with the addition of more radical lawmakers this year.

Tien said he is prepared to balance the views of both camps in future LegCo sessions. Tse vowed to be a more inclusive president if elected and deal with the different camps fairly in discussions.

Tien said he had gathered enough support within the chamber. But he said if a consensus on Leung as the president is reached within the patriotic camp on the nomination, he will respect the result and leave the race.

On the same day, the LegCo Secretariat briefed the newly elected legislators over relevant provisions of the Basic Law, as well as the Powers and Privileges Ordinance.

The briefing, chaired by Secretary General of the LegCo Secretariat Kenneth Chen Wei-on, was attended by more than 10 new faces in the upcoming LegCo term. They included Holden Chow Ho-ding of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong and Eunice Yung Hoi-yan of the New People’s Party.

The first council meeting of the new-term LegCo will be held on October 12. By then, lawmakers-elect will take the oath, and LegCo president will be elected.

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