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Tuesday, October 18, 2016, 20:32

LegCo disruptions delay panel elections


HONG KONG -  As the city’s new legislature was set to elect chairmen and vice-chairmen of 18 panels on Tuesday to take it a step closer toward full operation, only 13 panels were able to elect panel leaders. The remaining five positions could not be put to the vote due to overruns and disruptive actions by the opposition camp.

The morning didn’t start well, with drama arising when the election for chairman of the Panel on Security turned out to be a wild goose chase. Legislator Leung Yiu-chung – commissioned to preside over the election as the most senior lawmakers after To Kun-sun joined the election for the chairman of the panel – made conflicting calls about adjourning the meeting.

The voting was put on hold as Leung badgered the secretariat with his right to preside over the meeting from the very beginning. He later announced the meeting was adjourned upon a lack of quorum.

But minutes later he overrode his call and asked the secretariat to call back lawmakers to vote. The secretariat of the legislature refused Leung’s request, saying that the meeting ended earlier when Leung announced it was adjourned at 9:02 am.

The remaining five positions could not be put to the vote due to overruns and disruptive actions by the opposition camp

The subsequent election of chairperson for the Panel on Manpower was canceled after the overrun of the previous panel meeting.Financial Services sector lawmaker Christopher Cheung Wah-fung was elected chairman of the Panel on Financial Affairs, while Kenneth Leung Kai-cheong from the accountancy sector would be his aid.

Legislator Ma Fung-kwok, representing the Sports, Performing Arts, Culture and Publication functional constituency, was chosen as the chairman of the Panel on Home Affairs after defeating Yeung Ngok-kiu from the Civic Party by a vote of 33 to 21.

Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung from the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong became chairman of the Panel on Economic Development, with a vote margin of 19 votes over rival lawmaker Yeung Ngok-kiu.

In the Panel on Food Safety and Environmental Hygiene, Helena Wong Pik-wan from the Democratic Party baggedthe chair and first-time lawmaker Edward Lau Kwok-fan was elected vice-chairman, without contest.

Tanya Chan Suk-chong from the Civic Party grabbed the chairwoman’s seat for the Panel on Environmental Affairs, without competition.

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