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Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 00:12

By-elections may arise from 2 disqualifications

By Shadow Li and Dara Wang
By-elections may arise from 2 disqualifications
A staff member of the Legislative Council inserts a letter into the room of disqualified lawmakers-elect Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung Chung-hang in the LegCo Complex on Tuesday. (Roy Liu / China Daily)

HONG KONG - Within 21 days, the Legislative Council Secretariat will publish in its gazette the two vacancies arising from the disqualification of two former lawmakers-elect on Tuesday, LegCo President Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen said.

He also said that by-election arrangements from the Electoral Affairs Commission will be released in due course.

LegCo Secretariat will publish in its gazette the two vacancies arising from the disqualification of two former lawmakers-elect

In the wake of a much-expected ruling that disqualified two separatist lawmakers-elect, Leung said the High Court’s judgment clarified the rights of the LegCo president and the commissioner for oaths in deciding on the validity of the official oath sworn by oath-takers.

He expressed the hopes that lawmakers and society could refocus on LegCo affairs and its work in monitoring the government.

In the meantime, society welcomed the High Court’s ruling that the pair had violated the Basic Law during their swearing-in.

The judgment ruled in favor of the SAR government, which filed the judicial review on Oct 18 against two separatists and then legislators-elect – Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Leung Chung-hang.

The pair insulted the country by referring to China as “Shina”, a derogatory term used by the Japanese militarists during World War II. They also displayed banners proclaiming “Hong Kong is not China”.

The pair were asked to pack up their belongings in the next few days. As of Tuesday evening, their offices in the LegCo Complex were already vacated. The offices had been left with at least a dozen bottles of alcohol, some which were half-drunk, as well as other items.

Starry Lee Wai-king, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong – the city’s largest political party, believed the ruling is fair and just. Lee urged the government and the LegCo Secretariat to execute the ruling soon.

Lee hopes the ruling could resolve recent disputes over oath-taking and get society and LegCo back on track.

The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, the city’s largest labor union, said the pair only had themselves to blame. It also asked them to return their office funding from LegCo and salaries they have already drawn.

New People’s Party welcomed the High Court judgment that re-affirmed the importance of the “One Country, Two Systems” principle, and the requirements for legislators to swear to uphold the Basic Law and swear allegiance to the nation and to the Hong Kong SAR when assuming office.

The judgment also demonstrated to Hong Kong people that it is paramount to safeguard the nation' territorial integrity, the party said.

Jeffrey Lam Kin-fung, lawmaker from the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong, welcomed the ruling. He called for a by-election to be held soon. The oath-taking saga had taught LegCo a lesson on how to improve its operations, Lam said.

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