|Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying talks to reporters after voting at a polling station for the legislative council election, Sept 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)|
HONG KONG – Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying extended an olive branch to newly elected members of the 70-strong Legislative Council on Tuesday - expressing hopes that greater harmony can prevail between the executive and legislative branches.
Welcoming the 26 new faces in the new legislative term which begins on Oct 1, Leung pledged to listen to their opinions.
The CE made the remarks before the weekly Executive Council meeting on Tuesday. This is just two days after the LegCo election which saw the highest voter turnout ever.
The voters chose a group of lawmakers who will bring significant changes to the composition of LegCo with a younger generation of lawmakers entering the chamber for the first time.
Among them are some young rising political stars from various parties at the pro-establishment camp, who have been approved by the camp’s well-established politicians, as well as some young radical localism advocates from the opposition camp.
Leung said the SAR government is more than willing to work with the council’s 70 members who have different beliefs, as long as they respect Hong Kong’s constitutional status.
Leung said that Hong Kong’s constitutional role, as stipulated in the Basic Law, is that the SAR is an inalienable part of China. Thus, advocacy of separation is unacceptable.
The matter of whether seats won by advocates of "Hong Kong independence" are valid will be determined by legal experts, he added.
Leung said he will start engaging lawmakers from across the political spectrum in small-group meetings in the short term - as will his colleagues in the government. This is to gain mutual understanding of the opportunities and problems society faces.
After this, the government will arrange exchange tours between new LegCo members and mainland officials in charge of Hong Kong affairs and provincial leaders as well. Then, the newcomers will have a better understanding of the country’s development and policies, Leung said.
The CE said he thinks that several radical lawmakers lost their seats because voters rejected their extreme postures and unyielding efforts to stall legislative progress through filibusters. These have ultimately impeded the passage of important bills.
Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Gregory So Kam-leung said he will arrange meetings with the council’s newcomers to explain his bureau’s work after he returns from South America for an APEC meeting.
So, speaking at a watch fair in Wan Chai, expects the new lawmakers will bring new ideas into the promotion and implementation of policies. He said the government and LegCo should explore ways to work with each other, instead of focusing on their differences.