Legco Election 2016 > News
Friday, August 12, 2016, 00:59

Starry Lee pledges to stop filibusters

By Joseph Li
 Starry Lee pledges to stop filibusters

Starry Lee Wai-king, while campaigning at a footbridge linking the Immigration Tower and the Wan Chai MTR Station on Thursday, gets the thumbs up from an elderly woman. (Roy Liu / China Daily)

HONG KONG - Starry Lee Wai-king, a lawmaker and chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), said she wants to stop filibusters in the new legislative term which begins in October.

Lee, who is seeking re-election in the Legislative Council District Council (Second) functional constituency, said the party and pro-establishment camp will explore ways to revise LegCo rules of procedure. This is to stop filibusters brought about through excessive use of the quorum bell.

“We must explore means to close the loopholes in the rules of procedure. If we can curb abuse of the quorum bell, we can largely solve the problem of filibustering,” she said, citing the failure of the Medical Registration (Amendment) Bill at the final meeting of the 2012-16 legislative term in July.

Retiring LegCo President Jasper Tsang Yok-sing said because he was bound by Article 75 of the Basic Law, which stipulates the quorum for the LegCo meeting should not be less than a half of all its members, he has no alternative but to ring the quorum bell at any time during the meeting if a lawmaker tells him there was an insufficient quorum.    

Lee is aware of the Basic Law requirement but says the Basic Law does not explicitly state whether a quorum is required all the time throughout the meeting.

“I think there is room for revision. Let’s see if we have new wisdom to tackle this problem next term,” she told China Daily on Thursday. She was making use of lunch time to reach out to as many people as possible at a busy location in Wan Chai, handing out campaign leaflets and explaining her election platform.

Given this is a citywide election which has nearly 3.5 million voters, she divides the work with another DAB candidate. She campaigns mostly on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon, while her colleague focuses on the New Territories. The party also adopts a “1+1” strategy, promoting candidates for both Hong Kong Island and “super seat” constituencies together, having both names printed in the election materials and banners.  

As a candidate in the “super seat” constituency, she admits she is under greater pressure than she experienced in 2012.

“As party chairperson, I am under huge pressure this year, hoping to secure 12 seats (one short of 13 seats won in 2012), including two super seats. However, competition will be very intense and we don’t know if the overall turnout rate will be high or low and how many votes we will gain.

“After four years of fierce, unprecedented political struggles, Hong Kong citizens are seriously polarized. As we can see on the street now, those who support you are very enthusiastic but there are also people who oppose you,” she said.

The other eight candidates competing for this constituency are: Chow Ho-ding, Wong Kwok-hing, Chan Yuen-sum, Leung Yiu-chung, To Kun-sun, Kwong Chun-yu, Ho Kai-ming and Kwan Wing-yip.

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