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Monday, December 19, 2016, 11:16

Leung defends his qualification as LegCo president

By Joseph Li
Leung defends his qualification as LegCo president
Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen presided over the second meeting of the sixth LegCo on Oct 19, at which legislators-elect who had failed to take their oaths accordingly were scheduled to be sworn in. (Provided to China Daily )

In the interview with China Daily, Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen rejected criticisms aimed at him after he took over from Jasper Tsang Yok-sing as president of the Legislative Council in October.

Leung’s critics cast doubts on whether a legislator from a functional constituency should become LegCo president. They noted that Leung, who had been elected in the Industrial (First) constituency unopposed in four consecutive elections, had zero votes and had no mandate from the electorate.

We must act in accordance with the Basic Law and should not impose additional requirements

Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, president of the Legislative Council

Leung stressed that all legislators are equal, saying: “In accordance with the Basic Law , there are 70 legislators, with equal numbers from the geographical and functional constituencies. The Basic Law says the president is elected among the legislators. It does not say who should become the president or if the one who gets the highest number of votes in the LegCo election shall become the president.

“We must act in accordance with the Basic Law and should not impose additional requirements,” he added.

Former LegCo president Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai had scored very high popularity ratings during her tenures from 1997 until she stepped down in 2008. During most of her terms as LegCo chief, she had acquired her LegCo seat through the erstwhile Election Committee constituency, and she only obtained the seat via direct elections in the 2004-08 legislative term.

“I was returned uncontested in LegCo elections because I had performed well in the sector and won the support of the constituency,” Leung said. “If my performance had not been good, other people should have challenged me in the LegCo elections. Instead of saying I was elected with zero votes, why don’t they say I won the elections with a clean sweep of the votes?”

Not only did his functional constituency background draw attacks from “pan-democratic” lawmakers, Leung was also described by some in the opposition camp as a “very tough, unbearable person”.

Responding to criticisms that he’s a tough person to deal with, Leung explained: “I shall be solemn and serious when presiding at LegCo meetings because these meetings are not TV game shows. The atmosphere in other parliaments is also very solemn, isn’t it? I’m not a tough person and I’m happy to meet with legislators if they want to discuss matters with me.”

Leung said legislators should respect the Rules of Procedure and warned: “If they do not abide by the Rules of Procedure, I shall take action in accordance with it. Very often, some legislators stand up and claim they raise queries pursuant to the Rules of Procedure. Yet, what they do most of the time does not comply with the Rules of Procedure.”

Leung joked that after becoming head of the legislature, he has become a very lonely person. He abstained not only from debating or voting but also from taking part in gatherings organized by the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA), the political party he is affiliated to.

“Some legislators even complained about me wearing the BPA badge,” he said.

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